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Thursday, January 7, 2010

American Jihadists Study

An interesting report out this week on American Jihadists. It summarizes a lot of key points to keep in mind on this subject, but it's focused mainly on post-9/11 terrorism cases.


  • About a third of the cases covered involved converts to Islam. In my own reporting, I've found that converts are an extremely important part of the jihadi mix -- especially when it comes to Americans.
  • About half of the cases they studied were Arabs, the rest were a mix of ethnicities. The cases I have documented in the book will probably end up skewing slightly higher toward non-Arab ethnicities.
  • About half the cases covered involved U.S. citizens. I expect to skew slightly higher on that front as well, although it's going to be in the same neighborhood.

    There a few important elements I will be covering in the book which are not present in the study. First off, Americans have been taking part in jihad ever since the modern age of terrorism began in 1979. I'll be looking at several of those cases in the book, including some interviews with pre-9/11 jihadists. I am also examining Canadians in the book, because the cultural and logistical markers are fairly similar.

    The second point is that not everyone who takes part in jihad also becomes involved in terrorism. I'm working to integrate some of those cases into the book as well.

    Finally, I want to note there are plenty of cases which haven't made a big splash in the news media. I'll be looking at some of those as well.

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    Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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    INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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