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“Radicalization” Doesn’t Just Happen

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Syed Rizwan Farook is pictured in his California driver's license, in this undated handout provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, December 3, 2015. REUTERS/California Department of Motor Vehicles/Handout

In discussions of the San Bernardino massacre, investigators want to determine at what point, exactly, the killers became “radicalized.” This inappropriate word makes it sound as if the perpetrators developed a disease, or fell under some evil spell – minimizing the extent to which their hideous crimes constituted a series of personal choices.

“Radicalization” doesn’t just happen – and it’s not always a discernible process. But it is worth noting that for Muslim terrorists, it always seems to involve an increase in religiosity. Many observers saw the San Bernardino couple becoming more devout which, in an Islamic context, can be a real danger. Muslim Americans should reform their faith to root out this unique susceptibility to terrorism: no one would worry that a Christian who attended Bible study more regularly or a Jew committing to daily prayer might suddenly become a violent extremist. In today’s world, Muslims have too often expressed religious fervor by supporting or perpetrating mass killing.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Jim Bird  •  Dec 10, 2015 at 11:40 am

    No kidding. Trump has been screaming the same thing for months trying to get the GOP’s attention to do anything, any damn thing, but he’s called the terrorist and racist.

  2. JC  •  Dec 11, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    I agree, the question is will American Muslims be willing to do this?? I’m not aware of many even willing to come out against the actions of the radical Muslims.

  3. Dominique  •  Dec 11, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    It’s true and so simple to understand. It’s sad that it needs to be explained. I am a French woman living in the USA, and I regularly see French newspapers articles and posts from friends in France trying to explain that Islamic terrorism in the US is minimal, and that terrorism by white people from the extreme right political side or from very religious background (Christian) is in fact more prominent. It’s painful to see how everything Islamic is trying to be excused, whereas everything Jewish or Israeli is demonized. It’s sad to see this happening in America too. Truth and reality seem to have no value and no impact.

    • Elle  •  Dec 11, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      That is because we have a president who has chosen to divide us and a press that is all to willing to follow along in lock step. Sad indeed.

  4. Mike Boone  •  Dec 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    I agree with Michael’s comments on this point as well as what’s noted by Jim Bird. America has become so politically correct that we cannot even have an honest conversation about radical Islam. While I don’t agree with everything Trump says, often the immediate reaction by many to the comments he makes is that he’s a racist. How outrageous! He, like many Americans are legitimately and rightly concerned about the safety of the homeland and the second he sounds off about it, he’s cut off at the knees. Meanwhile, Obama has contributed to this mess by being wholly unwilling to take these radicals to the mat…in part because he’s a pacifist, in part because he’s a Muslim sympathiser, and in part because he’s incompetent. Obama’s actions border on treason in my humble opinion – but he’s going to get a pass while Trump doesn’t? How the heck does that make sense?

    We’re allowing more Muslims coming in as a “goodwill/humanitarian” gesture. Really? How are we vetting them? (we can’t!), how long will they be here? (forever or until we lose track of them – like the Afgans training with the USAF in GA), how can we prevent these people from becoming radicalized if they aren’t already? (we can’t).

    American’s better wake up, but they won’t. We have more coming our way. Be prepared.

  5. Beano McReano  •  Dec 11, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    They get SCARED at about what they are to do. They know it’s WRONG! So, it’s not unusual they get very religious at the terrible guilt and cowardliness they are about to do.

  6. BradC  •  Dec 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Yes, I agree, Michael. However I think it’s 10-20% religiosity itself, and the remainder is the sinister preaching of it.

    Radical Imams inspire the weak minded and/or angry individuals who “get off” on slaughter. They are the head of the snake.

  7. MNW WWA  •  Dec 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

    You’ve sedd it awl!!!

  8. MNW WWA  •  Dec 12, 2015 at 10:24 am

    yoove sedd it all. Wutt morr ken I add? Nuttin.

  9. amelia  •  Dec 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Why are we not checking the mosques? France has closed down three now and shipped Imams out of the country. If the US were to do that — there would be such a huge fuss. It seems they often preach such hate for us. Doesn’t that feeds the desire to become radicalized?
    And I’d like to add that there is such animosity towards Jewish students on college campuses and no one is addressing that issue.

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