https://krypt3ia.files.wordpress.com/20 ... ageman.pdf
In fact, most of the global Salafi terrorists come from core Arab countries, immigrant communities in the West, Indonesia or Malaysia. They do not come from the poorest countries in the world, including Afghanistan. Surprisingly, there is no Afghan in my sample. In terms of socio-economic background, three-fourths come from upper and middle class families. Far from coming from broken families, they grew up in caring intact families, mildly religious and concerned about their communities. In terms of education, over 60% have some college education. Most are in the technical fields, such as engineering, architecture, computers, medicine, and business. This is all the more remarkable because college education is still relatively uncommon in the countries or immigrant communities they come from. Far from being immature teenagers, the men in my sample joined the terrorist organization at the age of twenty-six years, on average. Most of the terrorists have some occupational skills. Three-fourths are either professional (physicians, lawyers, architects, en
gineers, or teachers) or semi-professionals (businessmen, craftsmen, or computer specialists). They are solidly anchored in family responsibilities. Three-fourths are married and the majority have children. There was no indication of weak minds brainwashed by their family or education. About half of the sample grew up as religious children, but only 13% of the sample, almost all of them in
Southeast Asia, were madrassa educated. The entire sample from the North African region and the second generation Europeans went to secular schools. About ten percent were Catholic converts to Islam, who could not have been brainwashed into Islam as children.
The failure of mental illness as an explanation for terrorism is consistent with three decades of research that has been unable to detect any significant pattern of mental illness in terrorists. Indeed, these studies have indicated that terrorists are surprisingly normal in terms of mental health
One of the striking findings of this sample is that three-fourths of the terrorists joined the jihad as expatriates, mostly as upwardly mobile young men studying abroad. At the time, they were separated from their original environments. An additional 10% were second generation in the West, who felt a strong pull for the country of their parents. So a remarkable 84% were literally cut
off from their culture and social origins. They were homesick, lonely, and alienated. Although they were intellectually gifted, they were marginalized, underemployed and generally excluded from the highest status in the new societies. Although they were not religious, they drifted to mosques for companionship. There, they met friends or relatives, with whom they moved in together often for dietary reasons. As their friendship intensified, they became a “bunch of guys,” resenting society at large which excluded them, developing a common religious collective identity, egging each other on
into greater extremism. By the time they joined the jihad, there was a dramatic shift in devotion to their faith. About two-thirds of those who joined the jihad did so collectively with their friends or had a long time childhood friend already in the jihad. Another fifth had close relatives already in the jihad. These friendship or kinship bonds predated any ideological commitment. Once inside the social movement, they cemented their mutual bonds by marrying sisters and daughters of other terrorists. There was no evidence of “brainwashing”: the future terrorists simply acquired the beliefs of their friends.
So far, the account of the global Salafi jihad seems to be a pure male story of heroic warriors fighting the evil West. Yet, women also play a critical role in this process. They provide the invisible infrastructure of the jihad. As influential parts of the social environment, they often encourage their relatives and friends to join the jihad. Many Christian converts or secular Muslims joined because of marriage to a committed wife.
But the most troubling aspect of this group of terrorists is their willingness to kill innocent civilians and themselves in the process. How does this process take place? This is where the role of
religion comes into play.
For that read from page 9 of the article.