The Excitement of Being a Martyr for Allah

(Investigative Project on Terrorism) Anat Berko - For 20 years I studied and interviewed Islamist jihad fighters imprisoned in Israeli jails, examining their inner worlds and discovering the obsessive thoughts leading them to carry out terrorist attacks. They were addicted to fantasizing about an alternative reality, describing their compulsions in metaphors similar to those used by obsessive gamblers and drug addicts. They felt completely controlled and manipulated by the concept of jihad. The overwhelming desire of many Muslim adolescent boys, even those educated in the West or who are converts to Islam, is excitement. To that end they stream into confrontation zones like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, Libya, Iraq, Africa, and Syria to experience the excitement and promise of being a martyr for the sake of Allah as the ultimate in self-realization. IDF Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Anat Berko conducts research for Israel's National Security Council and is a research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel.

2013-10-11 00:00:00

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