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Five Myths About Violent Extremism

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posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 06:09 PM
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There has been many "opinions" getting tossed around lately concerning our Middle Eastern friends/threat. The ignorance is rampant and the willingness to educate has been lost on many. Those who find this information useful, great. Those who dismiss it, were going to do so from the start anyway.

Most of this thread is taken directly from the article and if that's not your cup o' tea, then please don't force yourself to read it. All bolding is mine from here on in. So, without further ado...

Five Myths About Violent Extremism


1. We understand radicalization.



The just-released National Security Strategy warns repeatedly of the danger of extremism, citing weak governance, widespread grievances, repression and the lack of a flourishing civil society among other causes that allow “extremism to take root.” This list suggests that we know what motivates radicalization — but almost every social malady falls into these categories. The difficult reality is that there is no single path toward radicalization; it varies by country, by historical period and by person.

Experts have long searched for a useful psychological profile of terrorists, without much success. The problem, as terrorism scholar Bruce Hoffman observed many years ago, is “how disturbingly ‘normal’ most terrorists seem.”

Nor does the answer lie in the realm of faith. Many volunteers for terrorist groups have little knowledge of religion. Indeed, their lack of religious knowledge makes them easy prey for recruiters who don the mantle of religious authority. The two British Muslims who bought “Islam for Dummies” before heading to Syria are more the rule than the exception.

And describing an entire religious group as potentially dangerous isn’t especially helpful. Britain’s Prevent program, which included efforts to promote community cohesion and fight extremist ideology, made Muslims feel stigmatized and made it harder to gain their cooperation.

Oh we understand radicalization alright, ONLY when speaking about Muslims. Once we now the source of their hatred, we can stomp it out just as violently in which it arose. We meet radical Islam with even more radical ways of dealing with them.

Extremism exists in every sect and what experts think causes terrorism to "take root", are the same negative aspects of a society that could produce a hateful, racist, ignorant, violent, aggressor in any faith. Being Muslim does not grant access to extreme ideology.

Only the persons own mind is capable of that. And if they all happen to dig Islam, great. Just another nonviolent similarity between two people with violent tendencies. They use their religion as a political platform of sorts, but are representing a false God. Most Muslims know that.


2. Moderate Muslims need to speak out.



Whenever an attack occurs, commentators chide moderate Muslims for not doing enough. Fox News contributor Monica Crowley argued that Muslims “should be condemning” the Charlie Hebdo attack but said that she hadn’t “heard any condemnation.” Bill Maher made a similar point when he claimed that “hundreds of millions” of Muslims “applaud an attack like this.”

Impressionable young people should know that their communities reject violence, and Muslims should indeed speak out — and they do. All the time. They condemn specific attacks such as the Charlie Hebdo killings, and they condemn terrorism in general. As the Islamic State emerged, more than 120 Muslim scholars from around the globe issued a point-by-point rebuttal of its religious arguments.

One problem for Sunni Islam is that it lacks a single church or spokesperson, so unlike Catholicism or the more hierarchical Shiite Islam, it can’t condemn (or endorse) anything in a categorical way. Blogger Daniel Haqiqatjou mockingly called for an iCondemn app that would allow Muslims to efficiently denounce acts of terror around the globe and reassure non-Muslims as to where they stand.

Of course, we shouldn't hold ordinary people responsible for what violent people do in their name. Catholics should condemn the killing of an abortion doctor, but I don’t blame them for the murder if they don’t.

Here's a thread on ATS about the same topic. There ARE Muslims out there speaking out and traveling the world with the same hopes of educating people.

Unless you see for yourself or seek out specific media coverage of their outrage, you will not likely here their voices. Many who don't speak up, hide their faith by staying indoors for fear of the same ignorant hate speech that we accuse them of. That is just plain wrong.


3. The best response is economic development and education.



It seems intuitive that poor people would be angry and that uneducated people would be more susceptible to terrorist brainwashing — a view that conservatives as well as liberals have embraced. President George W. Bush declared that it was important to fight poverty “because hope is an answer to terror.” The 9/11 Commission also called for supporting public education and economic openness.

Yet even a moment’s reflection shows the limits of this logic. Billions suffer poverty worldwide, and discrimination and ignorance are tragically widespread, yet few among these billions commit acts of terrorism. Religious schools in Pakistan do educate terrorists, but so do Pakistan’s public schools — and Western universities. Doctors and engineers are well represented in the ranks of international terrorists: Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al-Qaeda, is a trained surgeon.

Promoting education and economic development is good in its own right — but don’t expect it to combat terrorism.

Instead, we should think small, in part because in the West the problem involves small numbers of potential terrorists: thousands, not millions. The focus should be on high-risk communities, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Prisons, for example, are breeders of terrorists, and ensuring that radicals do not dominate religious instruction behind bars and that there are programs (and intelligence agents) in place to stop terrorist recruitment is vital.

Particularly important is targeting what terrorism expert William McCants calls “law-abiding supporters” — those who embrace jihadist ideas on social media or are otherwise clearly at risk of joining a terrorist group, but have not yet broken the law. Using community interventions and other means to move these people off the path of violence will prevent the stark choice of jail or Syria, and give family members of potential recruits a reason to seek out government help.

"Law-abiding supporters", eh?. See, in America, we call that freedom of speech. Contribute one dollar to their cause and you have now crossed the line. There are probably more fans of football and soccer than Muslim extremism and I don't think there will be any terrorist rallies happening anytime soon. But the FEAR!!! IT EXISTS!!! LOL!!!


edit on 23-2-2015 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 06:09 PM
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4. The fighting in Iraq and Syria will spawn terrorism in the West.



The flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria has understandably alarmed security officials around the world. FBI Director James Comey expressed the views of many when he warned in May 2014 that “there’s going to be a diaspora out of Syria at some point, and we are determined not to let lines be drawn from Syria today to a future 9/11.”

But officials raised similar fears about foreign fighters involved in earlier conflicts, especially after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and those conflicts did not produce a surge in terrorism in Europe or the United States. Many of the most dangerous foreign fighters die on the battlefield, blowing themselves up in suicide attacks or perishing in firefights. Others opt to continue fighting in the region. And those who return home are likely to be under the surveillance of state security services, inhibiting their ability to carry out attacks.

So far the Islamic State’s agenda is first and foremost local and regional — killing Alawites and Shiites, toppling the governments in Iraq and Syria, and so on — not plotting attacks against the West. There remains a real threat, especially from “lone wolf” attacks, as the cachet of the Islamic State inspires Muslims around the world. But such attacks are unlikely to be on the scale of 9/11 or carried out in a sustained way.

I'm not going to touch this one with a ten foot pole. If it's happening, I'm not seeing it. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough? Or, maybe I'm not succumbing to the lies and propaganda that I hear all the time.

Really, does anybody here believe we are living amongst groups of terrorist cells here in the US? As pointed out earlier, we are dealing with thousands, not millions. Being as spread out as they are, I highly doubt they could coordinate a large scale attack from within the country. That's IF the government isn't setting them up in Motel 6's and actually doing what it and the NSA were designed to do.


5. Europe has a massive Islamist terrorism problem.



The attacks at Charlie Hebdo were indeed shocking. Afterward, the head of Europol noted that “the scale of [violent extremism] has increased over the last 10 years.” Arrests for religiously inspired terrorism in Europe more than doubled from 2009 to 2013.

Still, Europe has seen very few successful attacks by Islamist terrorists since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people, and the 2005 London bombings, which killed 52. In the intervening years, right-wing extremists have presented more of a threat. Europe’s most deadly attack in recent years was the one carried out by far-right Islamophobe Anders Breivik, who killed 77 Norwegians in 2011 when he bombed downtown Oslo and then slaughtered children at a nearby summer camp.

Though the potential threat may have grown because of the excitement the Islamic State has created among some young Muslims, so too has the response. Indeed, the arrests and disrupted plots — as opposed to successful ones — attest to the professionalism of the European intelligence services, as well as the need to fund them properly. So while there is reason to be concerned, there is no reason to panic and overreact.

Europe’s bigger problem is the divide between its Muslim and non-Muslim communities. This is less about counter-terrorism and more about the need for better political and economic integration.

The picture is none other than some "nobody", putting a "sticker with words" on a pole, in a concentrated Islamic neighborhood. Not to dismiss or reduce the amount of violence that COULD happen there, they are nothing more than a few chest puffers who like to throw things at people who wear tight jeans. Let me know when they start making some real threats. The question is, how do you preserve the freedom to be an Islamic asshole while making sure they play well with others?


As a disclaimer, articles such as this can never cover or entail all the facts. Without even researching, I can tell you there are likely some exceptions to each one of these points. Please don't attack me as I have no definitive opinion on the matter.

Please, give to others when you can. If you have nothing, you can still give a smile or a handshake. Focus on being kind to others, regardless of who or what they represent and you might just be surprised at the reaction you get back. Thanks for reading.


edit on 23-2-2015 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 06:14 PM
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★★★★★★★★★★ a reply to: eisegesis

Excellent post. Particulary the parts about radicalization. Love the last pic too. Isn't that the truth? Thank you.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 06:23 PM
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Question: If we don't understand what breeds radicalization, how can we know that prisons breed it?

Question: If Europe need to better integrate Muslims, does that point to a weakness in the overall multi-cultural approach that most progressives champion?

Question: How can Islamic terrorism not be a domestic threat and yet be a domestic threat from lone wolves? It seems to me the article downplays that as somehow lesser in scale because it's only one person and not planes flying into buildings. Dead people killed in the name of an ideology are still dead.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 06:30 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

Any belief or ideology can be "radicalized."

There are social, economic, and political conditions that make some people, particularly young people more susceptible to radicalization. And that includes wars and seeing your friends and family killed. and that includes poverty and joblessness.

Radicalization is the process of taking the core beliefs or ideologies that someone already holds and manipulating those to take a person to more radical places of thought. These thoughts might then lead to revolutionary, militant, or extremist actions, which might include terrorism.

That's pretty much the premise here.

ETA: In answer to your one questions do you really believe, in the climate since 9/11 and 7/7 that people are welcoming to Muslims? Hell just look around ATS and you see some of the most ignorant and vile comments in one place at one time, and that's not even the worst of it.

France has done some major studies on radicalization that are worth looking into.
edit on 2/23/2015 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 06:44 PM
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I found this cartoon a while back and post it every now and again - I think it sums up very well the premise of your OP, which by the way is very well done.




posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 06:57 PM
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a reply to: eisegesis

I've been saying every single one of these things for weeks. Then I get called an ISIS sympathizer for it.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:01 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
Question: How can Islamic terrorism not be a domestic threat and yet be a domestic threat from lone wolves? It seems to me the article downplays that as somehow lesser in scale because it's only one person and not planes flying into buildings. Dead people killed in the name of an ideology are still dead.



It's a domestic threat in the same way that dying in the bathtub one day is also a threat. It exists, but isn't bad enough to put a lot of effort into being afraid of. Yet we make SPECIAL effort to be afraid of something that kills less people than your kitchen.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:02 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

Great questions! I will try my best.


If we don't understand what breeds radicalization, how can we know that prisons breed it?

I would imagine being in a controlled environment you could witness inmate dynamics at a much closer level. There is psych and social monitoring 24/7, who log REAL data that correlates with a rise in radicalization.


If Europe need to better integrate Muslims, does that point to a weakness in the overall multi-cultural approach that most progressives champion?

I have no political affiliation at all and would like to let the "progressives" speak for themselves. I'd liken the idea to a chemist who has to mix different substance to achieve the desired result. Certain countries don't do enough of this measuring and testing and it's likely handled by a third party organization, who the government rarely listens to.


How can Islamic terrorism not be a domestic threat and yet be a domestic threat from lone wolves? It seems to me the article downplays that as somehow lesser in scale because it's only one person and not planes flying into buildings. Dead people killed in the name of an ideology are still dead.

Because "lone wolves" do NOT represent the Muslim population and I'd have a hard time believing if they even were affiliated with those abroad. Isn't every single person considered a "lone wolf" until they swear allegiance to something?

Now, this is where the propaganda kicks in. If they didn't swear allegiance to any group, the MSM will gladly try and fill that void. The parrots tell us they have networking capabilities and are making it big over here thanks to Western Union.

My question back to you is, if anyone were to cause harm to the American people on a large scale, what is the first characteristic you look for when trying to find a motive?


edit on 23-2-2015 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:10 PM
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originally posted by: ~Lucidity
a reply to: ketsuko

Any belief or ideology can be "radicalized."

There are social, economic, and political conditions that make some people, particularly young people more susceptible to radicalization. And that includes wars and seeing your friends and family killed. and that includes poverty and joblessness.

Radicalization is the process of taking the core beliefs or ideologies that someone already holds and manipulating those to take a person to more radical places of thought. These thoughts might then lead to revolutionary, militant, or extremist actions, which might include terrorism.

That's pretty much the premise here.

ETA: In answer to your one questions do you really believe, in the climate since 9/11 and 7/7 that people are welcoming to Muslims? Hell just look around ATS and you see some of the most ignorant and vile comments in one place at one time, and that's not even the worst of it.

France has done some major studies on radicalization that are worth looking into.


This is an awful long article to just say what common sense tells most folks. Hey, anyone can become a radical. Then they say "We don't know why" ... but they go on to list things. If you don't know why it happens, then you don't know why it happens. There is no list of things can make it happen.

Also my question about multiculturalism is a general one and not aimed at Muslims. If the theory is that part of the radical problem comes from not integrating a culture better ... then how does that work with the prevailing belief in multiculturalism? After all, multiculturalism promotes and advocates that people from varying cultures NOT have to surrender any part of their cultural identities in order to integrate with a native culture where they just moved to.

So basically, it seems to me that they are acknowledging the failure of multiculturalism. Very daring for the Progressive Brookings Institute!



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:12 PM
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a reply to: eisegesis

So was Ft. Hood just work place violence then?



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:16 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

You're probably more likely in the U.S. to be killed by a toddler with a handgun than ISIS.

Also, I posted this in another thread, but it might bring some thought here too.

Is so way off? Isn't the way to find acceptance through first bonding about the things you have in common, rather than focusing on and fighting about the differences?




posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:19 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

Um. They do know what makes people more prone to radicalization.

Also, multiculturalism is a failure in the eyes of those who don't want to be with anyone who is not exactly like they are. Those types of people exist everywhere. Luckily, not all people feel this way.
edit on 2/23/2015 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:24 PM
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originally posted by: ~Lucidity
a reply to: ketsuko

Um. They do know why.

Multiculturalism is a failure in the eyes of those who don't want to be with anyone who is not exactly like they are. Those types of people exist everywhere. Luckily, not all people feel this way.

This is exactly why the US is going to the dogs. There are some very rich and powerful people who operate here, but detest having to share the same rock to stand on as the rest of us.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:24 PM
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a reply to: ~Lucidity

I like that infographic.

By the way, terrorism isn't new in America. Pre-9/11 having your plane hijacked was just some event that was discussed for a while then everyone just forgot about it. Muslim terrorism has been going on since the 70's. But that is just Muslim terrorism. Death by terrorism statistics also include terrorism that ISN'T muslim terrorism, so the threat of muslim terrorism is just stupidly low. If you are afraid of Muslim terrorist, it's because you've been brainwashed by the media. It's that simple.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:27 PM
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a reply to: eisegesis

Pretty rich and powerful people who convince other people one way or another that they should lend them their support. Convince them or focus them on issues such as Islamic terrorism or ____fill in your own blank-___ so they're distracted while they steal everything. It boggles the mind. Seriously.

Sorry I edited my post a bit while you were typing. I realized that first sentence wasn't all that clear.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:29 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

Yep. Brainwashed by the media or have no faith in law enforcement or the military or the militias or yourself to protect us. Or both.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:38 PM
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I read your post and your sources. This entire OP smacks of propaganda and not facts. The spin is making me dizzy.



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:39 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: eisegesis

So was Ft. Hood just work place violence then?


I'm inclined to say "yes", but then I would be agreeing with these guys. Good thing I don't have cable.


The suspect, a soldier who had served in Iraq, "had behavioral health and mental health" issues, Milley told reporters late Wednesday.

The general said there was no known motive for the shooting.

"There is no indication that this incident is related to terrorism, although we are not ruling anything out," he said.

Sounds like someone they were aware of but didn't attempt to help. Could have been drugs, a girl or someone put a bug in his head and gave him orders through his subconscious.

Anyways, I'm still curious, what is the first characteristic you look for when trying to find a motive?



posted on Feb, 23 2015 @ 07:41 PM
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a reply to: Metallicus

This post reeks of a drive by with no attempt to debunk anything in it while dismissing it offhand.



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