The Myth of Lone-Wolf Terrorism

(UnHerd) Ayaan Hirsi Ali - My heart sank when I heard about the brutal murder of British MP Sir David Amess by Ali Harbi Ali. Acknowledging that Ali is of Somali background, we are told, is racist and xenophobic. He must only be identified as British. As someone who was born in Somalia, I find this absurd. Our efforts to counter Islamist attacks are hindered by misconceptions, such as describing a perpetrator as a "lone wolf." I suspect numerous victims of Islamist extremism might be alive today if those in charge of preventing terrorism recognized that Islamist extremists are anything but lone wolves. While individuals responsible for terrorist attacks may conduct their attacks alone, they still emerge out of communities or networks of like-minded individuals. They learn the radical ideas that inspire their violence from teachers or imams. I believe that, by and large, the Islamic terrorist narrative is waning. Al-Qaeda is a skeleton of what it was two decades ago, while the specter of ISIS continues to serve as a real-life deterrent to what living under a caliphate requires. Even the Muslim Brotherhood narrative is stale and petering out. So the defeat of radical Islam in Britain is still attainable. But achieving that requires us to bin the fallacies regurgitated after every attack. The writer is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

2021-10-28 00:00:00

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