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Thursday, December 10, 2009
Americans in Pakistan: A Classic CaseOn CNN's Situation Room, CNN correspondent Arwa Damon said Pakistani officials told her the five Americans arrested there this week "were not motivated by Islam" but were instead traveling to a combat zone to defend Muslims against "ongoing atrocities." The report also stated that they said attacking a Muslim anywhere in the world was the same attacking all Muslims.
I have no doubt this is an accurate quote of what Damon was told, but it's a tremendous misdirection to say that these young men were not motivated by Islam. The narrative of Muslim victimization -- and Muslim solidarity against victimization -- is the dominant theme of jihadi recruitment, and an important recurring theme in Islam generally and in jihadist thought specifically.
It's also one of the most important factors which leads Americans to jihad, as I will discuss at more length in my forthcoming book. Americans are especially responsive to the Muslim victimization theme, for a number of reasons including media consumption, American political dialogue and cultural principles.
If these young men said what is attributed to them (and I'm quite certain they did) that places squarely in the center of Islamic jihadist thought, and the American Jihadist theme -- not off to one side as this report suggests.
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
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