Once more: “Obama and Trump both inadvertently helping the Islamic State through rhetoric”

The dust having only just settled on Barack Obama and Donald Trump are both wrong about Islam what do I wake up to read this morning . . . ? One wouldn’t call them bedfellows, strange or otherwise, but President Obama and Donald Trump are both inadvertently helping the Islamic State through rhetoric that is either too … Continue reading “Once more: “Obama and Trump both inadvertently helping the Islamic State through rhetoric””


Cults & Terrorists in Christianity and Islam

Several scholarly works (and yours truly, too) have observed significant parallels between the mechanisms that lead people to join “extremist” Christian cults and those that lead others to join radicalised Islamic groups. Many of us blame the religion of Islam and the Quran for terrorists. Should Christianity and the Bible be held to account for … Continue reading “Cults & Terrorists in Christianity and Islam”


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)”


A contemporary example of a status driven extremist?

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 … Continue reading “A contemporary example of a status driven extremist?”


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?”


Violent Islamism: Many Are Called, Few Are “Chosen”, Fewer Defect

A new online article on the role of religious belief among Islamists supporting violence (an overlapping theme of these posts). The article by specialists in the field draws the some of the same comparisons I have been making between the appeal of religious cults and political extremist movements: The Cult of Jihad: A Practical Theology Perspective on … Continue reading “Violent Islamism: Many Are Called, Few Are “Chosen”, Fewer Defect”


Does growing “dewy-eyed at the mere mention of Paradise” lead to suicidal terrorism?

What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry? — Sam Harris, End of Faith, p. 129 Dr. Quintan Wiktorowicz takes a more nuanced view of what it takes to tip a person into a commitment to extremism. Wiktorowicz’s explanation might be worth noting as … Continue reading “Does growing “dewy-eyed at the mere mention of Paradise” lead to suicidal terrorism?”


Islamic Radicals and Christian Cults: Cut from the Same Cloth

Dr. Quintan Wiktorowicz works with CEOs and senior leaders to leverage high impact outreach and engagement, partnerships, and innovation to create opportunities and manage risk. He is an internationally recognized author and expert on national security engagement and counter-terrorism and served in two senior positions at the White House, where he led efforts to advance … Continue reading “Islamic Radicals and Christian Cults: Cut from the Same Cloth”


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”


Terrorists on Status Seeking Adventures

Previous posts in this series looking at Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us by Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko: 1. How Terrorists Are Made: 1 – Personal Grievance 2. How Terrorists Are Made: 2 – Group Grievance 3. Slippery Slope to Terrorism  4. Love, Relationships and Terrorism So far we have noted how one becomes a terrorist … Continue reading “Terrorists on Status Seeking Adventures”


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”


ISIS: The First Step To Combating It

The first step to combating Isis is to understand it. We have yet to do so. That failure costs us dear. — Scott Atran in Mindless Terrorists? The truth  about ISIS is much worse (The Guardian) We must fight their growing power any way, anywhere, we can. With words, with weapons, with sincere efforts at warm … Continue reading “ISIS: The First Step To Combating It”


Love, Relationships and Terrorism

Previous posts in this series looking at Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us by Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko: How Terrorists Are Made: 1 – Personal Grievance How Terrorists Are Made: 2 – Group Grievance How Terrorists Are Made: 3 – Slippery Slope A number of critics who are more interested in attacking … Continue reading “Love, Relationships and Terrorism”


ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan

There was a time I needed to read Marx and Mao to orient myself to the essential thought of the ideologies challenging the West. Never did I imagine that in my lifetime those works would be gathering dust and I’d be seeking out the likes of al-Maqdisi’s Democracy a Religion and Naji’s The Management of Savagery (and more recently, al-Suri’s … Continue readingISIS: Inside the Army of Terror by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan”