Terrorism has become a worldwide menace and a threat to many stable countries. The United States of America has been a major target of terrorism activities both from within and outside its states. What are the driving forces of terrorist activities? According to Randy Borum (2003), terrorism evolves in the society, and is nurtured over time to the point of full-grown international network. He analyses the key processes through which an idea evolves, and consequently affects the behavioral patterns of the participants. He points out that it begins as social and economic deprivation of certain individuals leading to inequality and resentment. The final result is blame attribution, and generalization with dehumanization and demonization tendencies. At this point, the society becomes susceptible to indoctrination. Due to such, the leaders select and recruit following specific criteria, and train the participants on how to undertake jihad activities. As analyzed by the National security Research Division, the process is so well planned that only those who willfully buy the idea are recruited and assimilated to wide connections of Jihadists all over the world. The rest are intimidated to join with time.
In America the idea that terrorism is a purely an external aggression has since been dismissed due to the steady growth on homegrown terrorism. According to the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, homegrown terrorism posed a threat to the homeland security as radicalization continued within the American borders. It was also noted that the homegrown terrorism just as any other does not grow overnight but follows particular stages. In this case, the stages identified include pre-radicalization characterized by normal lives of individuals before radicalization. It is followed by the self-identification stage where external and internal factors begin affecting the individuals. Indoctrination follows as the individuals teach among themselves the Muslim jihadi-Salafi ideology, and finally full jihadist. This progression takes place within the society systematically. An elaborate network is created.
The issues of the terrorist are complicated further by the numerous ways that individuals participate in terrorist. These include, making intention for jihad, seeking Allah’s Martyrdom truthfully, going for the jihad, supporting Jihad with one’s wealth, and preparation of the Jihad fighters. It also involves taking care of those left behind by the fighters by providing for the families, and collecting and sending money to those in the fight. It also involves among other speaking and defending the Mujahidin and calling people to follow their footsteps. Traitors are exposed and punished accordingly creating strict discipline among the Muslims who participate in Jihad (Muhamamad Bin Ahmadas-Salim, 1424). Therefore, it is very difficult to establish the true participants of the jihadist especially in the earlier stages. Such a case has been confirmed by Jonathan Rae who highlighted the difficulties of identifying the terrorist from the general public. He noted that it is difficulty to profile terrorist based on age, gender, social economic status, race and location. He also noted the behavioral trends and behavior may indicate different issues and the definition of terrorism is not yet specific.
What are the best approaches to fight terrorism? Since the process of indoctrination is sequential, efforts have to be made to ensure that the young people are not indoctrinated and assimilated to Jihad. This process may involve ensuring equality of all people, and avoiding discrimination and social injustices that fuel radicalization. The military has to be involved in extreme cases where compact is necessary to avert terrorist attacks.
Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins. Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and The Homegrown Threat. United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 2008
Randy Borum. Understanding the Terrorist Mind-set. The perspective, July, 2003.
Muhamamad Bin Ahmadas-Salim. 39 ways to serve and participate in Jihad. At-Tibyan Publications. 19/5/1424
Scott Gerwehr and Sara Daly National Security Research Division. Al-Qaida: Terrorists Selection and Recruitment. Retrieved from www.rand.org May 21, 2014.
Fact Sheet: Racial Profiling: Department of Justice, June 17, 2003.
Jonathern Rae. Will it Ever be Possible to Profile the Terrorist? N.d.
Matt Appuzo. U.S. to expand rules limiting use of profiling by federal agents, New York Times, Jan 15, 2014.