Radicalisation — whether extreme sports, cults or terrorism

Yes, time for me to finish blogging on what the research has shown about how radicalisation works, how people are recruited into terrorist organisations, religious cults, . . . even extreme sports . . .  As Jason Burke (whose works I have blogged about here, most recently on “the new threat“) points out: it’s all the … Continue reading “Radicalisation — whether extreme sports, cults or terrorism”


Unfreezing. Gateway to Radicalisation (Comparing Cults and Terrorist Groups Once More)

What follows will be as obvious as our common humanity to many readers. To others it may appear to be a spineless excuse for idiocy and criminality. How to explain such contrary perspectives is itself an interesting question to explore. But if you are curious as to what mechanisms open the doorway for some people to join radical activists and/or religious cults … Continue reading “Unfreezing. Gateway to Radicalisation (Comparing Cults and Terrorist Groups Once More)”


Why they join ISIS — and how deradicalisation works

On the same theme: Why are young Australians being drawn to Islamic State: The causes and ways of combating the threat of radicalisation by Paul Donoughue and Lucy Fahey An interesting account on Indonesians being attracted to ISIS and what the subsequent deradicalisation programs look like appeared yesterday on various ABC site recently: Islamic State training … Continue reading “Why they join ISIS — and how deradicalisation works”


“On how to be completely wrong about radicalisation: the curious case of Jerry Coyne”

“If every time we mentioned women to a friend he started talking about their breasts, we’d be entitled to think that this was all he was interested in when it comes to women. The same goes for Coyne (and Harris’s) almost exclusive focus on religious beliefs in the context of Islamist terrorism.“ Dan Jones on … Continue reading“On how to be completely wrong about radicalisation: the curious case of Jerry Coyne”


Rightwing Terrorism in Context

We have posted on Jason Burke’s books on Islamist terrorism (The New Threat: The Past, Present and Future of Islamic Militancy and Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror) so I was interested in read what Jason had to say about the recent terrorist attack in The Guardian, “What does Christchurch attack tell us about rightwing … Continue reading “Rightwing Terrorism in Context”


Why Blaming Islam for Terrorism is Misguided

Yes, we know that suicide terrorists regularly announce that they are killing in the name of Allah and they quote the Koran to justify what they are doing. And, of course we should, must, listen to what they say and take it seriously. Far from denying any of that, I think it is all necessary … Continue reading “Why Blaming Islam for Terrorism is Misguided”


Jihad and Death, part 2. “The Avenging Hero of the Suffering Muslim Community”

This post is a continuation from Jihad and Death, the global appeal of Islamic State. –o0o– Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could actually be regarded as religious novices. Very few have been brought up in strongly … Continue reading “Jihad and Death, part 2. “The Avenging Hero of the Suffering Muslim Community””


The Founder of Islamist Extremism and Terrorism

Nazi ideology was set out by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, Communism was explained for all by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto, and radical Islamism was planted with Sayyid Qutb‘s Milestones. Qutb was hanged in 1966 for involvement in a plot to assassinate Egypt’s President Gamal Abdul Nasser. Qutb’s ideas appear to have been … Continue reading “The Founder of Islamist Extremism and Terrorism”


Historical Conditions for Popular Messianism — Christian, Muslim and Palestinian

A number of readers have questioned my own questioning of a popular belief and claim by Richard Carrier that Palestine in the early first century CE was experiencing a rash of messianism. I suggest on the contrary that evidence for popular messianism does not appear until the Jewish War in the latter half of the first century. … Continue reading “Historical Conditions for Popular Messianism — Christian, Muslim and Palestinian”


Atheism and Fundamentalism: Why atheists don’t understand religion and why believers don’t like atheist criticisms

I recently lamented in a comment that some atheists appear incapable of understanding any argument about religion that is neither attacking nor defending it. Atheism, fundamentalism, liberal Christianity, religion generally — they do not all seem to be equally well understood as many heated arguments testify. Are ex-fundamentalist atheists still very often fundamentalists at heart as some … Continue reading “Atheism and Fundamentalism: Why atheists don’t understand religion and why believers don’t like atheist criticisms”


How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us

I have now posted on the first part of Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us by Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko. This section has covered the how individuals are radicalised. Future posts will look at how groups move towards extremism, and then how entire nations can likewise go in that ugly direction. Type of … Continue reading “How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us”


Who Joins Cults — and How and Why?

We must remember an old adage: no one joins a “dangerous cult” or a “terrorist cell.” Converts invariably see the act of joining in positive terms, as beneficial for both themselves, their society, and the cosmos (literally), and the process is far more gradual than it appears. — (Dawson 2010, p. 7) In the late … Continue reading “Who Joins Cults — and How and Why?”


How Young People Become Radicalised

A former jihadist is interviewed for his views on the question “What makes vulnerable young Muslims prone to being recruited by groups like the Islamic State?” It seems a silly question to many. After all, they’re Muslims. They believe in a holy book that commands them to kill, kill, kill. What else is there to know? If a … Continue reading “How Young People Become Radicalised”


The San Bernardino Terrorists — So Very Predictable, So UNpredictable

Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farooq fit the pattern perfectly. I’ve been posting the findings of serious research into what leads someone to radicalize and kill for some time now and will continue to do so as I read and learn more. Meanwhile assertions that the Quran made them do it defy the fundamentals how the world … Continue reading “The San Bernardino Terrorists — So Very Predictable, So UNpredictable”