The actions of the shooters like those in San Bernardino, Paris, and very probably Brussels are difficult for most people to understand. But the work of scholars specializing in extremism can help us begin to unravel how people become radicalized to embrace political violence.
Security experts Alex Wilner and Claire-Jehanne Dubouloz define radicalization as a process during which an individual or group adopts increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations. The process involves rejecting or undermining the status quo or contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice.
Newly radicalized people don’t just agree with the mission and the message of the group they are joining — they embrace the idea of using violence to induce change.
A multi-site violent attack appears to have taken place in Paris, reports The Telegraph. There have been reports of Kalashnikov (AK-47) fire, grenade explosions, and hostages taken. As of 9:42 p.m. local time Paris, the French police reported 20 dead.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other embassy staff were killed outside a consular building as it was rushed by a mob angered about a U.S. online film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
"The Libyan official said the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire.
'The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them,' the official in Benghazi told Reuters."
CLEVELAND — No one disputes that followers of Amish bishop Samuel Mullet Sr. used horse-mane shears last year to forcibly cut the beards and hair of other members of Amish communities in rural Ohio.
Only their motivation is in dispute as Mullet and 15 of his faithful stand trial in U.S. District Court on federal hate-crime charges. Did religious bias move them to act, or did a compassionate desire to help wayward brethren return to strict Amish ways?
"Why did they do this? I know it sounds strange: Compassion," defense attorney Dean Carro told jurors Tuesday during opening statements. "No crime has been committed. These were purely good intentions."
But prosecutors showed jurors a photo of defendant Johnny Mullet using one hand to grab the long, white beard of Raymond Hershberger, a 79-year-old Amish bishop, and using the other hand to chop.
Following attacks on seven U.S. mosques in the last two weeks, including three attacks last weekend, many Muslim Americans are approaching the end of Ramadan on Aug. 19 under a cloud of fear as Muslim groups try to increase security without spurring panic.
According to reports, vandals shot paintballs at the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City on Aug. 12, and in Lombard, Ill., someone threw a bottle filled with acid at an Islamic school while 500 people prayed inside. The night before, a neighbor fired an air rifle at the Muslim Education Center in Morton Grove, Ill., while on Aug. 7, two women were videotaped throwing pig legs on a proposed mosque site in Ontario, Calif.
Just days before the country’s first democratic election (set for Nov. 28), 27 Coptic protestors were killed for demonstrating against the military’s recent burning of a Christian community center. And despite drawing global attention, which included anti-violence demonstrations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, the Global Post reports that, "the demonstrations reflect mounting fears in Egypt’s Coptic community and its Diaspora that after the pro-democracy uprising of earlier this year the predominantly Muslim Egyptian society seems as indifferent to the Christian minority’s concerns as ever. “