What makes them tick?

Last time, I promised you that I would find out what makes a terrorist tick. No matter what religious affiliation, no matter what nationality, terrorists have a few things in common. They are ruthless. They have no respect for life or property. And, strangely enough, today’s terrorists were radicals before they became religious extremists, not the other way around. The difference is very important.

Before 9/11, it took years of religious indoctrination before someone became a jihadi. Now, it’s a matter of impulse. Before 9/11, a jihadi was almost 28 years old. Now, closer to 20. For instance, Osama bin Laden had political demands and a goal, knew what he wanted with his war. On the other hand, modern terrorists make no demands. They have no political agenda. They are pure impulse and violence, fulfilling some primal need for death and glory. As an example, a couple of well known, alcohol drinking, drug using jihadis picked up the books “Koran for Dummies” and “Islam for Dummies” on their way from Birmingham to Syria. The next we see these blokes, they’re bombing Paris. No background in religion, only a criminal background. No demands or explanation, or relationship to sharia or the afterlife. Just bombs and death and headline news.

An amazingly thorough study by Rik Coolsaet of Belgium, and writings of Olivier Roy of France, point out that the radicalization of the modern terrorist arises around the fantasy of heroism, death and violence. Not of sharia and utopia. They note that the Islamic State has become a gang, celebrating violence for its own sake.

But is it just Islamic extremists? Is it just Muslims who are out of control, or are they just getting the press? Our front running Republican presidential candidate would have us believe that Muslims are the root of all evil, banish them from American shores or at least tag and bag ‘em. Doesn’t it sort of remind you of what happened to the Japanese during WWII? Well, maybe that’s just me. If we do that, if we treat Muslims in America as anything other than equals, Osama bin Ladin reaches out from the grave and grins, because he wins.

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