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June 2nd, 2009
04:59 PM ET

Homegrown terrorists: A study of the radicalization process

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about domestic terrorism on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/06/02/arkansas.recruiter.shooting/art.muhammad.courtesy.jpg caption="Abdulhakim Bledsoe, 23, faces a first-degree murder charge and 16 counts of engaging in a terrorist act. He is from Arkansas."]

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Laura Grossman
The Center for Terrorism Research

This study, Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S. and U.K.: An Empirical Study of the Radicalization Process, is a product of over a year and half of research into the phenomenon of homegrown terrorists–Westerners who have chosen to take up arms against the society in which they were born or raised.

Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S. and U.K. examines six different steps are particularly significant as homegrown terrorists radicalize: the adoption of a legalistic interpretation of Islam, coming to trust only a select and ideologically rigid group of religious authorities, viewing the West and Islam and irreconcilably opposed, manifesting a low tolerance for perceived religious deviance, attempting to impose religious beliefs on others, and the expression of radical political views.

These steps have recurred frequently among homegrown terrorists, and they help to provide insight into these individuals’ state of mind as they hurtle toward the embrace of violence again innocents.

Go here to read the study.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Terrorism
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Bertha Holston

    I may have made an error in my e-mail address. Please explore this subject more. My son is in Yemen. We would like to get him back home. What can we do? My heart is heavy thinking about the things I see on TV. I would like to think that he is not a violent person. Please help if you can. He had a telephone but is always powered off. He is not answering our e-mails.

    June 3, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  2. Bertha Holston

    Please explore this subject more. My son is also in Yemen. I want him back home!! I believe this situation is more widespread than we know.

    June 3, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  3. Richard

    Dropped the ball? Our FBI has started to evolve into a very dangerous intelligence service, and under Dick Cheney’s own word’s, was allowed to take every and any action necessary action to “ensure” national security. Former Director Hayden said on Meet the Press that guilt or innocence did not matter. Director Muller stated the objective was threat neutalization. Anderson’s Cooper’s biggest worry should be if a cast of FBI informants in any way pushed this “criminal” off the edge. There is a shameful craft where, via non disclosures, any one that a potential suspect may come into contact with can be a proactive informant. Using investigative pretences, these informants can steer and derail any element of anyone’s life to “ensure” national security and create false perceptions. The problem with the word “ensure” is that for every genuine criminal, you may have 100 innocent people who have had their lives destroyed without knowing the government was behind it and they remain a state secret. Our government’s pathetic trick is to put the word “potential” in front of each and every one of these cases. If you are innocent and have no “potential”, this process can systematically turn someone into a threat because of the severe repercussions that are baked in from the very first day. This is just as tragic as any other premeditated murder, and in a country of over 300 million people, this is an extremely rare, if not the rarest of crimes. For you to “ensure” this never happens would mean you would have to potentially ruin the lives of thousands of people. Those that become wise to the “sources” and “methods” that are targeting them can become extraordinarily bigger threats than any “potential” they may have ever had-and the word “potential” strips out any genuine intent. So, in the FBI did not have a cast of informants trying to ensure something, I am probably one of a few that do not think they dropped to fall because this would be a really nasty place to live they “ensured” something like this will never happen in a country of 300 million people.

    June 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm |