News / USA

    Experts on Terrorism Say Time Square Suspect's Radicalization Gradual

    Faisal Shahzad
    Faisal Shahzad

    Multimedia

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American man accused of attempting to bomb Times Square, is providing useful information to investigators, and authorities are pursuing new leads in the case.  Holder said Thursday in Washington that although the car bomb failed to detonate, it provided a reminder that terrorists are still plotting to kill Americans.

    As Faisal Shahzad tells his story to investigators,  questions arise about why someone like him would become a terrorist. He once seemed to be living the American dream - an immigrant who had gained U.S. citizenship, after earning two university degrees and getting a job as a financial analyst.

    But Shuja Nawaz at the Atlantic Council points out that even some of the terrorists who attacked the United States in September 2001 came from affluent families. "These are not the uneducated suicide bombers who are being used and hired locally. These are the people who feel they can do something spectacular," he said.

    Jerrold Post, the author of "Mind of the Terrorist,"  points out that American newspapers quote officials close to the investigation as saying Shahzad told them he was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. born Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen. Awlaki has used his sermons on the Internet to try to recruit American Muslims and turn them against Americans. "It's not you. You are not the problem. The reason you are not finding satisfaction and accomplishment in life is, them. They are taking it away from you," he said.

    Post explains how Awlaki tries to convince his audience that Islam is in danger. "One, the Muslim as a victim. Two, the necessity for defensive jihad - the West is out to destroy Islam and we have to defend it. And three, the person who martyrs himself for the cause has higher stature and will be rewarded in paradise. That is a powerful series of messages," he said.

    Both analysts say Shahzad's transition was gradual, and came about from a combination of religion and anger.

    Post points to the numerous trips Shahzad made to Pakistan since 1998 when he first came to the United States, and the fact that his hometown is close to the Pakistani region where the militants are now being targeted by U.S. drone attacks. "There is intense anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. This has been magnified by some of the drone killings, targeted assassination basically, of Taliban leaders in which, unfortunately, there is always some collateral damage. This has been magnified by al-Qaida and Taliban as action of America killing Muslims," he said.

    The analysts note that American Muslims are part of mainstream society, and for the most part do not face discrimination like they do in some European coutries. But Nawaz says that's not enough - there should be more moderate Muslim voices to provide an alternative to the Awlaki's provocative messages. "Which I think has been a failing not only of the countries like Pakistan where some of the terrorists or suspected terrorists come from, but also on the part of the U.S. Public Diplomacy. They need to focus on bringing those leaders of the Muslim community from India, Pakistan and Indonesia who can relate Islam to modern times," he said.

    The analysts say the core issue is how personal frustrations among young Muslims can turn into political causes that drive them to kill. And this can be averted if the message of clerics like Awlaki can be countered by moderate Muslim voices.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora