Flaws in the "Lone Wolf" Analysis

(New English Review) A.J. Caschetta - The term "lone wolf" to denote perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes who act without the assistance of others is illogical and misleading when used to describe jihadists. A jihadist may attack solo but he is always supported by a community that believes he is partaking honorably and piously in a 1400-year-old tradition. The battle cry "Allahu Akbar" is a sign of that community; those who shout it during an attack are not "lone wolves." Often, those quickly dubbed "lone wolves" during or shortly after their attacks are proven to be affiliated with terrorist groups. Even when law enforcement cannot prove membership or even physical contact between jihadists and terrorist organizations, there is often a great deal of evidence to show virtual contact. Ultimately the "lone wolf" analysis provides a useful tool for anyone seeking to disconnect Islam from jihad attacks. But by refusing to look for jihadists, and then after their attacks looking for reasons other than jihad, we make it easier for them to hide. The writer is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

2016-08-04 00:00:00

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