Unlike his inspiration Barannikov, however, Mirsky was unable to contain himself: he told everyone who would listen that he was the attempted assassin. . . . Soon [the police arrested him].
Only a few weeks later, Mirsky was already betraying his comrades from People’s Will and writing humble petitions to the czar. His loyalty to the radical movement evaporated completely; there is even evidence he was recruited to serve as an informant for the prison authorities. . . .
Barannikov sought the thrill of adventure; Mirsky status. The two kinds of motives are often linked in experience and can be linked in theory. Gang activity is a familiar setting where certain young men seek status. In an earlier post in a series addressing factors that attract persons to extremist radical groups, Terrorists on Status Seeking Adventures, I did not discuss Mirsky. But this morning I caught up with a detailed investigation into another (ex)Islamist radical I have posted on a few times and am struck by some similarities.
The contemporary example of someone who was driven by a pursuit for social status in his involvement in an extremist Islamist group appears to be Maajid Nawaz.
Previous posts focusing on Nawaz:
- Sam Harris modifies his views on Islam — Encouraging step forward
- Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz in Discordant Dialogue
- The Conflict between Islamism and Islam
- Debating Islam, Islamism and Human Rights
In at least one of those posts I did wonder why Maajid Nawaz appeared to approve of being a billed as an equal joint author (with Sam Harris) of a book in which some of Harris’s more extreme views went unchallenged and were even further promulgated through the advertising of a book whose arguments are opposed by Nawaz.
I had also heard reports that Nawaz had been responsible for falsely reporting peaceful Muslim groups to the British authorities as potential extremists. I was unable to find secure evidence in fairly quick searches to verify such claims. (Some have accused him of falsely presenting himself as a Moslem, but I have probably met more non-practising Moslems than devout ones when overseas, and see no reason to pronounce a spiritual judgement upon them and accuse them of not being Muslims at all. The identity cards of those who have them flatly state they are Muslims.)
This morning I read the following:
The lengthy report is on Alternet; the authors are Nafeez Ahmed and Max Blumenthal. The byline reads:
Maajid Nawaz bases his credibility on a compelling personal story, but how much of it is true?