As our need to know motivations for the brutal attack spurs questioning of the surviving brother of two who ignited pressure cooker bombs at the Boston marathon, we should also look to Al Qaeda's ongoing campaign recruiting youths to inspire such acts. Teenagers and young adults are especially vulnerable to being lured into that fatal fold. Al Qaeda’s appeal has a unique “fit” with normal adolescent rebelliousness. What would be normal adolescent rebellion and protest for some young people, becomes terrorist action under Al Qaeda’s tutelage. The Arab world’s turmoil creates many young adults who are in the phase of what psychoanalysts call “prolonged adolescence.”
In addition to enlisting well-educated youth, radical Islamists also recruit poor and less-educated Muslim “foot soldiers” through religious Madrassah schools and young-adult mosque programs and activities. The Madrassah-type “schools” offer economic advantages and spiritual inspiration to families and Muslim communities that have few alternatives.
The recruiting techniques of Al Qaeda and its metastatic subsidiaries are clever, creative, and diverse in their applied theology.
Al Qaeda woos Muslim individuals, families, and communities who see membership in Al Qaeda and participation in Jihad as a high calling.
But the courage, compassion, and leadership shown in Boston speaks volumes about the higher power of God's love.
|The Cult of Osama: Psychoanalyzing Bin Laden and His Magnetism for Muslim Youths|
PETER ALAN OLSSON, M.D., is a Psychiatrist at Monadnock Community Hospital, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School, and an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. He practiced Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Houston for 25 years and in New Hampshire for eight years. His training and residency was completed at Baylor College of Medicine.