[Guest post by DRJ]
For years, experts have warned of the myth that Al Qaeda terrorists are “poor, desperate, single young men from Third World countries, vulnerable to brainwashing.” Instead, as Dr. Marc Sageman told an international terrorism conference back in 2004:
“Most Arab terrorists he studied were well-educated, married men from middle- or upper-class families, in their mid-20s and psychologically stable, said Sageman, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Many of them knew several languages and traveled widely.
But when they settled in foreign countries, they became lonely, homesick and embittered, he said. They felt humiliated by the weakness and backwardness of their homelands. They formed tight cliques with fellow Arabs and drifted into mosques more for companionship than for religion. Radical preachers convinced them it was their duty to drive Americans from Muslim holy lands, killing as many as possible.”
That sounds a lot like the description of Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and, apparently, his associates:
“Two men detained in Pakistan admitted with pride that they helped the suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing, and one of the men angrily accused his interrogators of “siding with the infidels,” a senior intelligence official said Saturday.
The pair are among six men officials say have been detained in Pakistan for alleged ties to Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American arrested in the United States two days after the failed May 1 attack in New York. Like Shahzad, the detainees are all from their country’s urban elite, including several who were educated in the United States.
Details about the six were released late Friday, though officials have not said when they were detained. Five were picked up in the capital, Islamabad, and one is co-owner of a posh catering company that the U.S. Embassy said was suspected of ties to terrorist groups.
The intelligence official, part of the team questioning the men, cited the two suspects as saying they did not do anything wrong and “proudly” describing Shahzad as their friend.
The official said one of the suspects had even accused his interrogators of “siding with the infidels.”
The radical mosques seem to be a pivotal factor. In addition, I’m curious how much their American college experiences contributed to any feelings of discontent and anger.