Andrea Elliott on small town boy turned jihadist

In an interview that might very well turn my last post on its head, Andrea Elliott from the NYT went on Charlie Rose to explain the new trend of American radicalization, epitomized by a small-town Alabaman boy that went on to become the face of fighting and recruiting propaganda for an Islamic insurgency based out of Somalia.

Two points are interesting.

One: the relationship between economic disenfranchisement and radicalization is not always there.  In this case, Hammami comes from a well-off middle-class family from a small town in the South, presumably without the cluster of poverty and fanaticism associated with Europe’s immigrant underclass.

Two: Elliott suggested looking at problem of radicalization not only from the angle of religious indoctrination, but as a sociological phenomenon, where adolescents channel their alienation, curiosity, and the urge to bond into, say, joining a cult or a gang.  The implications for preventative measures are bound to be quite different in this case.

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