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Sec of State John Kerry: Terrorists Just Need Economic Opportunity… launches new global counter-terror fund

14

The refusal by the  politcal elites to address the problem — the ideology — leaves us more vulnerable. From the September 11th Muslim terrorists, or the underwear bomber, or the Muslim doctors behind the failed jihadi attack on the main terminal at Glasgow Airport, or the US major at Fort Hood, etc. — it's not the wallet of the Muslim that is of consequence, but his/her piety. 

Study after study has shown that jihadis are wealthier
and better educated than their peers. But we keep throwing money at the
problem. The recipients, however, just think of it as jizya, the money
that non-Muslims must pay the Muslims as per Qur'an 9:29, and continue
waging jihad. "Kerry: Potential Terror Recruits Need ‘More Economic
Opportunities,’" by Patrick Goodenough for CNS News, September 30 (thanks to Robert Spencer):

(CNSNews.com) – Launching a new global counter-terror fund,
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of the importance of “providing more
economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment” –
although much research has debunked the notion of a link between
poverty and Islamist terrorism.

At a meeting in New York Friday of the Global Counterterrorism Forum
(GCTF), Kerry and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu unveiled a
$200 million initiative designed to leverage public and private funding
in support of what the GCTF calls “countering violent extremism” (CVE)
efforts.

The aim of the first-of-its-kind fund, known formally as the “Global
Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience,” is to support local
communities and organizations to counter extremist ideology and promote
tolerance.

“It’s about challenging the narrative of violence that is used to
justify the slaughtering of innocent people,” Kerry told the meeting of
ministers from the 29 countries making up the GCTF.

But alongside the ideological issue Kerry also raised the notion of economic factors.

“Getting this right isn’t just about taking terrorists off the
street,” he said. “It’s about providing more economic opportunities for
marginalized youth at risk of recruitment. In country after country, you
look at the demographics – Egypt, the West Bank – 60 percent of the
young people either under the age of 30 or under the age of 25, 50
percent under the age of 21, 40 percent under the age of 18, all of them
wanting jobs, opportunity, education, and a future.”

Researchers have noted that some of the most prominent jihadist
terrorists over the past decade or more, far from being driven by
desperation and a lack of economic opportunity, are educated members of
their societies.

Osama bin Laden was the son of a billionaire businessman, Ayman
al-Zawahiri is a physician and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has an engineering
degree.

A similar pattern was evident in south-east Asia, where key members
of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror network were
well-educated men.

In a study of Singapore’s experience in combating radical ideology
over the 2001-2011 decade, researchers from the country’s S. Rajaratnam
School of International Studies observed that they included Yazid
Sufaat, a Malaysian former army captain and businessman (who in 2000
provided lodging in Kuala Lumpur to two of the 9/11 hijackers and was
later involved in a foiled Singapore bomb plot).

Others were JI bomb expert Azahari Husin, a university lecturer in
Malaysia with a doctorate in engineering, killed in 2005; wanted JI
fugitive Zulkifli Abdul Hir, a U.S.-trained engineer; Noordin Mohammed
Top, a university graduate who became Indonesia’s most-wanted terrorist
until killed in 2009; and other JI figures who hold degrees or
engineering diplomas.

According to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, “Terrorists
are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental
disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is
normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to
come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, “Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.”

“Education can encourage terrorism in several ways,” he wrote. “One
is that schools may be used simply as convenient recruiting hubs or, in
some cases, even as ‘mobilizing structures’ with the right mix of youth,
insulation from social control, and opportunities.

“Another is that schools may propagate violent ideology and expand
the context in which the use of violence is considered appropriate and
desirable.”

The GCTF itself recognizes to some degree that the poverty-terror
link is questionable. A document on “good practices” for CVE, adopted
by the forum on Friday, notes that “research has rejected the thesis
that poverty begets violent extremism,” although it adds that “the gap
between the expectations and reality of an individual’s socioeconomic
status can be a condition conducive to violent extremism.”

It adds, for instance, that extremists may offer financial payments to individuals or their families.

When President Obama first took office, the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC), the bloc of mostly Muslim-majority states, sent him
an open letter attributing terrorism both to “political injustice” –
citing the Palestinian issue – but also to “deprivation, poverty [and]
despair.”

In earlier years, Obama himself is on record as making the terrorism-poverty link….

 

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