Domestic terrorism, cyber-radicalization, & U.S. college students.
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Author: Wright, Marie
Pub Date: 12/22/2011
Publication: Name: The Forensic Examiner Publisher: American College of Forensic Examiners Audience: Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Law; Science and technology Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 American College of Forensic Examiners ISSN: 1084-5569
Issue: Date: Winter, 2011 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 3
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Organization: Organization: Egyptian Islamic Jihad; Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Accession Number: 275636290
Full Text: ABSTRACT

Since 9/11, there has been an increase in domestic terrorism inspired by the Global Salafi Jihad ideology. Some of the individuals who undergo radicalization are U.S. college and university students. Radicalization is promoted on the Internet in ways that appeal to the young and impact those who are searching for their identities and places in life. Radicalization is complemented by the open environment of higher education, where college- and university-based organizations can become forums for the presentation of radical messages in a way that connects with the students. This article describes the four-stage radicalization process, explains why students are particularly vulnerable, and offers suggestions for implementing an effective response.

KEY WORDS: Domestic terrorism, Global Salafi Jihad, Jihadist, radicalization, Salafi Islam

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INTRODUCTION

The terrorist threat to the United States is changing. Since 9/11, there has been a shift in the operational terrorist threat from core al-Qaeda to smaller cells, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) in Pakistan and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) (Straw, 2010), and there has been an increase in domestic terrorism inspired by militant Islamist ideology.

What motivates individuals, particularly those born or living in the United States, to carry out autonomous jihad (holy war) is the Global Salafi Jihad ideology (Sageman, 2003; Silber & Bhatt, 2007). This ideology, which was first decreed by Usama bin Laden in his 1998 fatwa (interpretation of Islamic law), is a violent Sunni revivalist adaptation of Salafi Islam.

Salafi Islam calls for the creation of a Muslim state that is governed by sharia, or strict Islamic law (Sageman, 2003). It promotes a literal interpretation of the Qur'an, and its goal is to establish a "pure" society that adheres to the social practices that existed in Arabia during the seventh century (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). Salafists believe that only a recreation of the practices of the devout ancestors will return Islam to the dominant religious force it was centuries ago (Sageman, 2003).

The Global Salafi Jihad ideology calls for a worldwide, violent overthrow of all societies that are not committed to this philosophy. It imposes an individual obligation on all Muslims to fight and defeat the "far enemy," specifically Americans (Sageman, 2003).

Becoming radicalized to the Global Salafi Jihad ideology is an evolutionary process. Prior to 9/11, this process often took years; however, within the past decade, the pace of radicalization has accelerated (Silber & Bhatt, 2007), and the gap between thought and action has narrowed (Straw, 2010). What once took years could take just a few months today.

Its participants are continuing to get younger, too. Between the two time periods of 2001-2005 and 2006-2009, the average age of terrorist group leaders decreased from 32 to 30; the average age of terrorist group members decreased from 27 to 23; and the average age of "lone wolves" (self-radicalized Islamist extremists who are not affiliated with any particular group) decreased from 30 to 23 (Straw, 2010).

The radicalization process begins when an individual is exposed to, and begins to explore, a militant Islamist ideology (United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2008).

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STAGES OF RADICALIZATION

Both the FBI and the New York City Police Department have identified a four-stage radicalization process through which ordinary individuals can be enticed to adopt a violent Islamist extremist mindset (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006; Silber & Bhatt, 2007).

Stage 1: Pre-Radicalization

This is the starting point for individuals before they are exposed to the ideology of Global Salafi Jihad. These individuals, who are primarily male Muslims between the ages of 15 and 35, are impressionable and are searching for their purposes in life. During this stage, it is difficult to determine whether an individual is becoming radicalized because the events are indiscriminate, and the indicators are subtle or non-existent (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006; Silber & Bhatt, 2007).

Stage 2: Self-Identification

This stage often begins with a crisis that challenges an individual's previously held beliefs. The individual is at a crossroads, possibly coping with the loneliness of social alienation, the loss of a job, or the death of a family member. During this time, the individual begins to explore the tenets of Salafi Islam, gradually moves away from his former life, and establishes connections with other like-minded individuals (Silber & Bhatt, 2007).

The journey begins online, where anyone can instantly locate a plethora of militant Islamist websites, violent video games, online forums filled with radical anti-Western rhetoric, and propaganda-filled audio and video messages from extremist Islamic leaders. The Internet is the individual's primary source of information about Salafi Islam, and it provides a portal that connects him to others who are searching for answers (United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2008).

The individual also begins to attend a Salafi mosque on a regular basis (Silber & Bhatt, 2007) and he seeks guidance from the imam (Muslim cleric) to better abide by every tenet of the religion. An extremist imam can use his knowledge of Salafi Islam-and his ability to provide a theological justifcation for terrorist attacks-to expedite and progress the individual's level of radicalization (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006). Ultimately, the individual will change his behaviors and physical appearance to better associate with his new identity (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006), giving up gambling, smoking, and drinking; growing facial hair; and wearing traditional Muslim attire (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). See Supplement 1 for further indicators of radicalization.

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By the end of this stage, the individual is more prone to accept and adopt a radicalized ideology that justifies or supports violence against those whose beliefs are contrary to those of Salafi Islam. He does not, however, yet see himself as an active participant in their jihad (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006).

Stage 3: Indoctrination

During this stage the individual's religious beliefs become progressively more extreme as he transitions from the ideology of Salafi Islam to that of Global Salafi Jihad. In the past, this evolution was guided almost exclusively by a self-taught, charismatic Islamic leader who provided a distorted perspective of Islam in order to radicalize his followers and create a jihadist mindset (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). Over the past several years, though, cyber-radicalization has supplemented, and in some cases started to replace, face-to-face radicalization (United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2008).

The individual devotes much of his time to militant Islamist websites and radical online forums, where he connects with like-minded extremists who reinforce and legitimize his beliefs and growing level of commitment to Global Salafi Jihad (United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2008). During this stage the individual and his group often begin proselytizing, preaching the superiority of Salafi Islam and advocating the destruction of Western society (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006). As the individual and his fellow members become increasingly cohesive, they progressively adopt the beliefs of the most radical members, becoming more isolated from those outside of the group (Sageman, 2003).

During this time of group bonding, members often engage in recreational activities, such as white-water rafting, camping, martial arts training, or firearms practice (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). Paintball games that simulate combat environments are particularly popular; they are used to practice military tactics. These activities help to solidify the group's cohesiveness and further define the individual's extremist identity (Silber & Bhatt, 2007; FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006).

As the individual forms his new identity, Global Salafi Jihad becomes more than an ideology; it becomes a personal cause. Worldwide conflicts are viewed as conspiratorial attacks against Islam by nonbelievers, and humanity is perceived as having only two sides: "true" Muslims who strictly follow the tenets of Salafi Islam ("us"), and everyone else ("them"). The individual's sole purpose becomes the creation of a "pure" global Islamic society, and his "us vs. them" perspective enables him to mOrally justify jihad in order to achieve that objective (Silber & Bhatt, 2007).

As the individual begins to envision the goal of militant jihad, he withdraws from the Salafi mosque that he frequented during the self-identification stage. This withdrawal may be triggered because the individual no longer feels the mosque is radical enough, or fears that continuing to worship at the mosque could result in increased surveillance, which would interfere with his terrorist intentions (Silber & Bhatt, 2007).

By the end of this stage, the individual has fully accepted the militant viewpoint that justifies, supports, and encourages worldwide violence against all disbelievers of Salafi Islam. He has concluded that his participation in militant jihad is required to further the cause (Silber & Bhatt, 2007).

Stage 4: Jihadization

This is the attack stage, during which the individual sees himself as a mujahid (holy warrior) and becomes involved in the operational planning for jihad. Whether the individual independently searches for opportunities to conduct a terrorist attack or accomplishes this by being part of a collective group, the intent is the same: to kill nonbelievers of Salafi Islam, particularly Americans and their allies, in order to establish a global Muslim state governed by sharia (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). Planning, preparation, and execution of the operational activities can occur quickly, and are sometimes completed in just a few weeks.

The individual actively searches the Internet to gather information on potential targets, formulate a mode of attack, obtain instructions for building weapons, receive instructions on military tactics, and find reinforcing spiritual justification for an attack. All the while he maintains contact with other extremists, who encourage and challenge each other's call to action (United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2008).

The individual also receives help from other operatives, particularly group members, as he plans and prepares for an attack. Their assistance may include travel planning, providing false documents, acquiring funds (possibly through fraud, embezzlement, or theft), developing attack plans, conducting surveillance activities, stealing or purchasing material, and developing an explosive device (Silber & Bhatt, 2007; FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006).

Typically the individual, or the leader of the individual's group, will travel overseas to a training camp that is located in a terrorist region, such as Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Yemen, or Somalia (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). Such travel not only provides the individual with additional exposure to military jihadist tactics, but also reinforces his radicalized mindset and his conviction to die for the cause.

Before the attack, the individual may draft a last will and testament or make a video to further strengthen his resolve to commit suicidal jihad and ensure that his death has meaning (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). By the end of this stage, a terrorist attack will occur.

THE RADICALIZATION PROCESS AND HIGHER EDUCATION

The Global Salafi Jihad movement poses a specific challenge to higher education because some of the individuals who are becoming radicalized are college and university students. In the beginning stages of radicalization, there is no clear-cut, overt indication that these individuals are beginning to develop a jihadist mindset. In fact, they appear to be nothing more than typical, middle-class university students who spend time together in social groups. It is precisely this demographic Islamist extremists find so appealing. They refer to these students as "clean skins"--ordinary individuals with U.S. citizenship or residency, with no criminal or terrorist history, who can hold legitimate travel documentation (Straw, 2010; Silber & Bhatt, 2007). Salafi jihadists understand that U.S. law enforcement agencies face legal and constitutional obstacles to monitoring U.S. citizens and that there is greater propaganda value in having U.S. citizens attack their own country (Donalds, 2007). They also understand that intelligent people who are recruited to a cause are more likely to be dedicated to that cause, since injustice and indignity are more powerful motivators than poverty or ignorance (Donalds, 2007).

U.S. colleges and universities are filled with intellectually bright, curious, and impressionable students, many of whom already question society's values in addition to their own personal beliefs (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006). It is not uncommon for religious conversions to occur, and in the open environment of higher education, radical groups can thrive.

Individuals have a tendency to seek out other like-minded individuals with whom to establish a social group (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). For students struggling to understand themselves, their religion, and their place in society, college- and university-based organizations can become forums for conveying radical messages in a way that resonates with the students (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than with the Muslim Students Association (MSA), the largest and most influential Islamic student organization in North America (Investigative Project on Terrorism, 2008).

The MSA was established in 1963 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Its founders were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a "rigidly conservative and highly secretive Egyptian-based organization dedicated to resurrecting true Islamic governance based on sharia law" (Investigative Project on Terrorism, 2008). With its motto, "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope" (Federation of American Scientists, 2010), the Muslim Brotherhood provided the ideological foundation for Global Salafi Jihad. Today, more than 175 MSA chapters exist on U.S. college and university campuses (Table 1).

Although the MSA has gained legitimacy on U.S. campuses as a benevolent group dedicated to helping Muslim students advance their faith, in reality, it has promoted extremist Islamist ideologies on college and university campuses throughout North America (Investigative Project on Terrorism, 2008). For example, one book increasingly cited for discussion is Kitab al-Tawhid (The Book of Monotheism), the foundational book for militant Islamist ideology (Silber & Bhatt, 2007). This book was written by Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th century founder of Wahhabism (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2010). An ultra-conservative orientation within Salafi Islam, Wahhabism is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia (Anonymous, 2010b), and it embraces the ideology of Global Salafi Jihad.

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RESPONDING TO THE THREAT OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM

U.S. college and university campuses are uniquely open environments where there is a continuous exchange of students (Vest, 2006). This variability in the student population means that the level of extremism on campus can fluctuate over time, and it can be disproportionately affected by the presence of a few like-minded individuals (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). Even one intensely resolute individual can have an impact on the level of extremism at a particular college or university (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). In this milieu, there unquestionably are small groups of college and university students who are becoming radicalized in the United States. The academic community can address the threat of radicalization on our campuses in the following ways:

Promote and reinforce the values of openness, free debate, and inquiry (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the academic environment is its inherent openness to the exploration of diverse ideas. The ability to debate, discuss, and directly challenge ideas is essential to higher education. By providing an open and vibrant environment for intellectually rigorous and thought-provoking dialogue, academic institutions can provide a setting where individuals can challenge those who espouse militant extremism (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). Actions that are contradictory to the values of higher education, such as actively policing students or aggressively censoring student activities, will likely cause those who are considering jihad to conceal their actions earlier, making it even harder to detect an impending domestic terrorist attack (Straw, 2010; Sims, 2007).

Promoting intellectual inquiry and debate is a responsibility of academic administrators, faculty, and staff: To this end, every U.S. college and university should have well publicized and readily accessible policies and procedures that enforce an acceptable code of conduct and address the right of free speech in a variety of settings, including public forums, demonstrations, and protests.

Break down the separation between different student groups (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). The danger in allowing segregated communities to develop on campus is that in such an environment, existing attitudes and beliefs of the group members tend to be reinforced so that there is little opportunity for dissent, independent thought, or the attenuation of radical preconceptions (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). Academic institutions can combat radicalization and create opportunities for interfaith and intercultural dialogue by encouraging students to become involved in activities that promote interactions between different groups, such as campus arts events and community volunteer activities (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). College and university administrators need to balance all requests for separate facilities from religious and cultural groups against the need for an integrated campus community (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008).

Ensure that all personnel are aware of their roles in preventing violent extremism (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008). Faculty and staff need to recognize the behavioral indicators of radicalization, while avoiding stereotyping or profiling (Straw, 2010). Those indicators, described above in the self-identification, indoctrination, and jihadization stages, become increasingly apparent during the radicalization process. Common sense is an effective benchmark: any non-normative behaviors, such as advocating violence as an acceptable course of action (Straw, 2010), should be reported to college or university administrators, and if necessary, to law enforcement. This means that faculty and staff must have the confidence to report suspicious behaviors to administrators at the institution, and the academic institution must have the processes in place and the willingness to get that information to the police (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008).

A partnership should exist between an academic institution and the local police. Law enforcement can offer support and guidance in developing incident response strategies and procedures, and can also offer training to help faculty and staff recognize and respond to potentially violent extremist behaviors (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008).

CONCLUSION

The security of our nation is impacted by our ability to recognize and respond to the radicalization process. The pace of those becoming radicalized to the Global Salafi Jihad ideology has accelerated, and the average age of the participants is consistent with that of traditional college and university students. The academic community plays an important role in identifying and responding to the warning signs of radicalization. The values of higher education--to share ideas, to encourage open debate and discussion, and to engage in constructive disagreement--are what enable us to try to logically persuade those who espouse the extremist ideologies that are the enemies of rational thought (Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills, 2008).

4 STAGE RADICALIZATION PROCESS

1. PRE-RADICALIZATION

2. SELF-IDENTIFICATION

3. INDOCTRINATION

4. JIHADIZATION

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SUPPLEMENT 1: WARNING SIGNS OF RADICALIZATION

Radicalization is at the heart of terrorism. The process Can be difficult to detect because it is complicated and changeable. Those who are familiar with an individual who is becoming radicalized, however, will see dramatic modifications in that individual's personal behaviors. The following changes should act as warning signs (Lajeunesse; 2010):

* Adopting a more religious lifestyle and terminating certain secular behaviors, particularly smoking, drinking, and gambling.

* Wearing traditional Muslim attire and praying five times daily.

* Expressing criticism toward those who are not living their lives in accordance with the Global Salafi Jihad ideology.

* Terminating all associations with family members, friends, or acquaintances who do not abide by the tenets of Global Salafi Jihad.

* Withdrawing from the mosque that was frequented in the past, believing that the imam and the Muslims in attendance are not devout (militant) enough.

* Increasing online or in-person communication with others who subscribe to the Global Salafi Jihad mindset.

* Watching terrorist videos and listening to propaganda-filled audio messages from extremist Islamic leaders.

* Adopting strong anti-Western and anti-Semitic views and advocating the belief that the U.S. is at war with Islam.

* Engaging in fundraising activities for non-local Islamic charities.

* Embracing the notion that women are inferior, avoiding social contact with women, demanding that women wear modest attire and head coverings, and believing that men have the right to beat women.

* Advocating for the death of all nonbelievers of the Global Salafi Jihad ideology, including other Muslims who are seen as apostates.

* Believing that the only form of government is one that is governed by sharia, all others must be destroyed so that a "pure" Muslim state can be re-established.

* Participating in paramilitary exercises with other like-minded extremists. Expressing a desire to travel overseas to a terrorist region, such as Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Yemen, or Somalia.

* Making vague and suspicious comments before traveling abroad, such as, "I'II be gone for a while and might not be back," or "l have something important to do and may not return."

Source: Lajeunesse, G. C. (2010, September/October). Radicalization in the homeland--the need for community partnership and education. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Institute for Security Studies. Retrieved January 1, 2011, from http://iss.unlv.edu/Guest%20Columns/ guestcolumn-septemberoctober%202010.html

ACCORDING TO THE FBI COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION (2006), THERE ARE FOUR CONVERSION TYPES:

1. "FAITH REI NTER PRETERS"--Muslims who, after a period of introspection and assessment, choose to modify their religious beliefs and follow a more extremist form of Islam.

2. "PROTEST CONVERTS"--Those whose dispossessions (e.g., ethnic, economic, political, racial, legal, or social deprivations) negatively impact their attitudes and beliefs toward others, and cause them to turn to a more militant religious ideology for explanation and vindication.

3. "JILTED BELIEVERS"--Individuals whose dissatisfaction with their current faith leads them to change religious beliefs.

4. "ACCEPTANCE SEEKERS"--Those searching for stronger interpersonal relationships and who find comfort in the solidarity of extremist groups (FBI Counterterrorism Division, 2006).

THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

Egypt's oldest Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, has grown into a worldwide Sunni Islamist movement with branches in more than 70 countries. Its stated goal is to create states ruled by Islamic law, or Sharia.

1928

Founded by Hassan al Banna to spread Islamic morals, charitable works; became involved in politics to drive British from Egypt

1948

Dissolved by Egyptian government for attacking British, Jewish interests; accused of assassinating Prime Minister Mahnound al Nuqrashi

1952

Plays supporting role in coup ending colonial rule

1954

Banned after failed attempt to assassinate President Gamal Abdul Nasser; grows underground

1964

Writings of one prominent member, Sayyid Qutb, who advocated jihad (struggle), inspire founding of radical groups, including Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda

1980s

Tries to rejoin political mainstream, forming alliances with major political parties, wins seats in parliament

2005

Wins 20 percent of seats, leading President Hoani Mubarak to have the constitution rewritten, banning religious political parties

2010

Brotherhood-aligned candidates win no parliamentary seats, leading to accusations of fraud, a basis for the current protests

EARN CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS

TAKE THE CE TEST FOR THIS ARTICLE ON PAGE 89

THIS ARTICLE IS APPROVED BY THE FOLLOWING FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDIT:

(ACFEI) The American College of Forensic Examiners International provides this continuing education credit for Diplomates and certified members.

AFTER STUDYING THIS ARTICLE, PARTICIPANTS SHOULD BE BETTER ABLE TO DO THE FOLLOWING:

1. Describe the characteristics of the four-stage radicalization process.

2. Explain why U.S. college and university students are the preferred demographic for radicalization by Islamic extremists.

3. Identify options for addressing the increasing threat of domestic terrorism on our college and university campuses.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Professionals working in cyber security, public safety and security, intelligence, critical infrastructure protection, and education

PROGRAM LEVEL: Basic

DISCLOSURE: The author has nothing to disclose.

PREREQUISITES: None

REFERENCES

Anonymous. (2010a). Muslim Students' Association. Retrieved October 30, 2010, from http://www.msanational.org/ resources/msawebsites.html

Anonymous. (2010b). Wahhabi. Retrieved June 5, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabi

Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills. (2008, January). Promoting good campus relations, fostering shared values and preventing violent extremism in universities and higher education colleges. Retrieved December 15, 2010, from http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/ biscore/corporate/migratedd/publications/e/extremismhe.pdf

Donalds, T. J. (2007, March 30). Radical Islam in Britain: Implications for the war on terrorism. Defense Technical Information Center. Retrieved May 20, 2010, from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U 2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA467202

Encyclopedia of World Biography. (2010). Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Retrieved June 5, 2010, from http:// notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-A-Bu-and-Obituaries/ Ibn-Abd-al-Wahhab-Muhammad.html

FBI Counterterrorism Division. (2006, May 10). The radicalization process: From conversion to jihad. Federal Bureau of Investigation Intelligence Assessment. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from http://cryptome.org/fbi-jihad.pdf

Federation of American Scientists. (2010). Muslim Brotherhood. Retrieved June 4, 2010, from http://www.fas. org/irp/world/para/mb.htm

Investigative Project on Terrorism. (2008). Muslim Students Association dossier. Retrieved June 3, 2010, from http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/ misc/84.pdf

Lajeunesse, G. C. (2010, September/October). Radicalization in the homeland--the need for community partnership and education. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Institute for Security Studies. Retrieved January 1, 2011, from http://iss.unlv.edu/Guest%20Columns/ guestcolumn-septemberoctober%202010.html

Sageman, M. (2003, July 9). The global salafi jihad. Statement of Marc Sageman to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. Retrieved June 1, 2010, from http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/library/ congress/9-11_commission/030709-sageman.htm

Silber, M. & Bhart, A. (2007). Radicalization in the west: The homegrown threat. Retrieved May 14, 2010, from http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/public_information/ NYPD_Report-Radicalization_in_the_West.pdf

Sims, P. (2007, September/October). Degrees of separation. New Humanist. Retrieved May 31, 2010, from http://newhumanist.org.uk/1573/degrees-of-separation

Straw, J. (2010, April). The evolving terrorist threat. Security Management, 54(4), 46-55.

United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. (2008, May 8). Violent Islamist extremism, the Internet, and the homegrown terrorist threat. Retrieved June 3, 2010, from http:// hsgac.senate.govlpublic/_files/IslamistReport.pdf

Vest, C. M. (2006, June). Openness and globalization in higher education: The age of the Internet, terrorism, and opportunity. Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved May 3, 2010, from http://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/ docs/ROP.Vest.Openness.7.06.pdf

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KEYWORDS: Domestic terrorism, global salafi jihad, jihadist, radicalization, salafi islam

TARGET AUDIENCE: Professionals working in cyber security, public safety and security, intelligence, criteical infrastructure protection, and education

PROGRAM LEVEL: Basic

DISCLOSURE: The authors have nothing to disclose.

PREREQUISITES: None

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After studying this article, participants should be better able to do the following:

1. Describe the characteristics of the four-stage radicalization process.

2. Explain why U.S. college and university students are the preferred demographic for radicalization by Islamic extremists.

3. Identify options for addressing the increasing threat of domestic terrorism on our college and university campuses,

ABSTRACT

Since 9/11, there has been an increase in domestic terrorism inspired by the Global Salafi Jihad ideology. Some of the individuals who undergo radicalization are U.S. college and university students. Radicalization is promoted on the Internet in ways that appeal to the young and impact those who are searching for their identities and places in life. Radicalization is complemented by the open environment of higher education, where college- and university-based organizations can become forums for the presentation of radical messages in a way that connects with the students. This article describes the four-stage radicalization process, explains why students are particularly vulnerable, and offers suggestions for implementing an effective response.

POST CE TEST QUESTIONS

(Answer the following questions after reading the article)

1. During the radicalization process, an individual can be enticed to adopt a violent Islamic extremist mindset. Which of the following statements best describes the individual's mindset at the end of the pre-radicalization stage?

a. The individual has the propensity to accept a radicalized ideology that justifies or supports violence against those whose beliefs are contrary to those of Salafi Islam; however, he does not yet see himself as an active participant injihad

b. The individual sees himself as amujahid and becomes actively involved in the operational planning for jihad

c. The individual has fully accepted the militant viewpoint that justifies, supports, and encourages worldwide violence against all disbelievers of Salafi Islam, and has concluded that his participation in militant jihad is required to further the cause

d. It is difficult to determine whether an individual is becoming radicalized because the indicators are subtle or non-existent

2. Which stage of the radicalization process often begins with a crisis that challenges an individual's previously held beliefs?

a. Pre-Radicalization

b. Self-Identification

c. Indoctrination

d. Jihadization

3. Which of the following behavioral indicators are apparent during the Indoctrination stage?

a. The individual engages in recreational activities, such as firearms practice and paintball games, with other like-minded extremists

b. The individual travels overseas to a terrorist training camp

c. The individual begins to attend a Salafi mosque on a regular basis

d. The individual makes a video to strengthen his/her resolve to commit suicidal jihad and to ensure that his/her death has meaning

4. Which of the following statements explains why the radicalization of U.S. college and university students is so appealing to Islamic extremists?

a. Students tend to be committed to a religious ideology and are less likely to be persuaded to change their beliefs

b. Students tend to be independent and individualistic and are less likely to draw attention by joining social groups

c. Students with criminal histories tend to be the preferred demographic for Islamic extremism because they can hide in the open environment of higher education

d. Students tend to be intelligent individuals, and intelligent people who are recruited to a cause are more likely to be dedicated to that cause

5. Which of the following statements is not true?

a. The founders of the MSA were members of the Muslim Brotherhood

b. The Muslim Brotherhood provided the ideological foundation for Global Salafi Jihad

c. Currently, there are fewer than 50 MSA chapters on U.S. college and university campuses

d. The MSA is the largest and most influential Islamic student organization in North America

6. Which of the following would not be an effective way for the academic community to respond to the increasing threat of domestic terrorism?

a. Recognize the behavioral indicators of radicalization, and report any non-normative behaviors associated with radicalization, without engaging in stereotyping or profiling

b. Actively police students and aggressively censor all student activities

c. Encourage students to become involved in campus and community activities that promote interactions between different groups

d. Promote rigorous intellectual inquiry and debate to counter the propaganda espoused by violent Islamic extremists

CERTIFIED NATIONAL THREAT ANALYST (CNTA)

Learn from terrorism experts today and become a Certified National Threat Analyst, CNTA, where professionals will be taught the intricacies of the terror network. For more information on the program, see the "Timeline of Terrorism" foldout in this issue, or call (877) 219-2519.

By Marie Wright, Ph.D., CHS-V

MARIE WRIGHT, Ph.D., CHS-V is a Professor of Management Information Systems at Western Connecticut State University. She received her Ph.D. in Information and Control Systems from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has authored more than three dozen articles on information systems security, published in journals such as Computer Fraud & Security, Computers & Society, Data Security Management, The Forensic Examiner, Network Security, and Review of Business, and she is the co-author of information Security: Contemporary Cases (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007). She is a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners International, American Board of Information Security and Computer Forensics, American Society for Industrial Security, Association for Computing Machinery, Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society, Computer Security Institute, Information Systems Security Association, InfraGard Connecticut, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
TABLE 1: LOCATIONS OF MSA CHAPTERS

ACADEMIC INSTITUTION                            LOCATION

Arizona State University                        Tempe, AZ
Baruch College                                  New York, NY
Berea College                                   Berea, KY
Bowling Green State University                  Bowling Green, OH
Bradley University                              Peoria, IL
Brandeis University                             Waltham, MA
Brigham Young University                        Provo, UT
Brooklyn College                                Brooklyn, NY
Brown University                                Providence, RI
Bryn Mawr College                               Bryn Mawr, PA
Bucknell University                             Lewisburg, PA
California Institute of Technology              Pasadena, CA
California Polytechnic State University         San Luis Obispo, CA
California State Polytechnic University         Pomona, CA
California State University, Long Beach         Long Beach, CA
California State University, Northridge         Northridge, CA
Carnegie Mellon University                      Pittsburgh, PA
Case Western Reserve University                 Cleveland, OH
Clarkson University                             Potsdam, NY
College of DuPage                               Glen Ellyn, IL
The College of William & Mary                   Williamsburg, VA
College of Wooster                              Wooster, OH
Colorado State University                       Fort Collins, CO
Columbia University                             New York, NY
Drew University                                 Madison, NJ
Duke University                                 Durham, NC
East-West University                            Chicago, IL
Emory University                                Atlanta, GA
Emporia State University                        Emporia, KS
Florida Institute of Technology                 Melbourne, FL
Florida International University                Miami, FL
Fordham University                              Bronx, NY
George Mason University                         Fairfax, VA
The George Washington University                Washington, DC
Georgetown University                           Washington, DC
Georgia Institute of Technology                 Atlanta, GA
Georgia Perimeter College                       Alpharetta, GA
Georgia State University                        Atlanta, GA
Golden Gate University                          San Francisco, CA
Guilford College                                Greensboro, NC
Harvard University                              Cambridge, MA
Henry Ford Community College                    Dearborn, MI
Illinois Institute of Technology                Chicago, IL
Indiana University                              Bloomington, IN
Indiana University Northwest                    Gary, IN
Indiana University-Purdue University at         Indianapolis, IN
  Indianapolis
Iowa State University                           Ames, IA
Johns Hopkins University                        Baltimore, MD
Kansas State University                         Manhattan, KS
Kent State University                           Kent, OH
Lehigh University                               Bethlehem, PA
Long Island University                          Brooklyn, NY
Louisiana Tech University                       Ruston, LA
Loyola University Chicago                       Chicago, IL
Loyola University New Orleans                   New Orleans, LA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology           Cambridge, MA
Miami University                                Oxford, OH
Michigan State University                       East Lansing, MI
Michigan Technological University               Houghton, MI
Middle Tennessee State University               Murfreesboro, TN
Middlebury College                              Middlebury, VT
Midwestern University                           Glendale, AZ
Mississippi State University                    Mississippi State, MS
Monroe Community College                        Rochester, NY
Montclair State University                      Montclair, NJ
New Jersey Institute of Technology              Newark, NJ
New Mexico State University                     Las Cruces, NM
North Carolina State University                 Raleigh, NC
Northeastern Illinois University                Chicago, IL
Northeastern University                         Boston, MA
Northern Illinois University                    DeKalb, IL
Northwestern University                         Evanston, IL
Oberlin College                                 Oberlin, OH
The Ohio State University                       Columbus, OH
Ohio University                                 Athens, OH
Oregon State University                         Corvallis, OR
Pennsylvania State University                   University Park, PA
Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico           San Juan, PR
Princeton University                            Princeton, NJ
Purdue University                               West Lafayette, IN
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute                Troy, NY
Rice University                                 Houston, TX
Rutgers University                              Newark, NJ
Saginaw Valley State University                 University Center, MI
San Joaquin Delta College                       Stockton, CA
San Jose State University                       San Jose, CA
Santa Clara University                          Santa Clara, CA
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale      Carbondale, IL
Southern Methodist University                   Dallas, TX
Stanford University                             Stanford, CA
State University of New York at Albany          Albany, NY
State University of New York at Buffalo         Buffalo, NY
State University of New York at New Paltz       New Paltz, NY
State University of New York at Stony Brook     Stony Brook, NY
Stevens Institute of Technology                 Hoboken, NJ
Temple University                               Philadelphia, PA
Tennessee Tech University                       Cookeville, TN
Texas A&M University                            College Station, TX
Texas Tech University                           Lubbock, TX
Truman State University                         Kirksville, MO
Tufts University                                Medford, MA
Tulane University                               New Orleans, LA
University of Akron                             Akron, OH
University of Alabama at Birmingham             Birmingham, AL
University of Alabama at Huntsville             Huntsville, AL
University of Alaska at Fairbanks               Fairbanks, AK
University of Arizona                           Tucson, AZ
University of Arkansas                          Fayetteville, AR
University of California, Berkeley              Berkeley, CA
University of California, Irvine                Irvine, CA
University of California, Los Angeles           Los Angeles, CA
University of California, Riverside             Riverside, CA
University of California, San Diego             San Diego, CA
University of Chicago                           Chicago, IL
University of Cincinnati                        Cincinnati, OH
University of Colorado at Boulder               Boulder, CO
University of Delaware                          Newark, DE
University of Evansville                        Evansville, IN
University of Georgia                           Athens, GA
University of Houston                           Houston, TX
University of Illinois at Chicago               Chicago, IL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign      Urbana, IL
University of Iowa                              Iowa City, IA
University of Kansas                            Lawrence, KS
University of Kentucky                          Lexington, KY
University of Louisville                        Louisville, KY
University of Maryland, College Park            College Park, MD
University of Massachusetts/Amherst             Amherst, MA
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor                Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan-Dearborn                 Dearborn, MI
University of Minnesota                         Minneapolis, MN
The University of Mississippi                   Oxford, MS
University of Missouri-Columbia                 Columbia, MO
University of Missouri-Kansas City              Kansas City, MO
University of Missouri-St. Louis                St. Louis, MO
University of Nebraska-Lincoln                  Lincoln, NE
University of Nebraska at Omaha                 Omaha, NE
University of New Hampshire                     Durham, NH
University of New Mexico                        Albuquerque, NM
University of New Orleans                       New Orleans, LA
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill     Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Florida                     Jacksonville, FL
University of North Texas                       Denton, TX
University of Northern Iowa                     Cedar Falls, IA
University of Oklahoma                          Norman, OK
University of Pennsylvania                      Philadelphia, PA
University of Rhode Island                      Kingston, RI
University of Rochester                         Rochester, NY
University of South Alabama                     Mobile, AL
University of South Carolina                    Columbia, SC
University of South Florida                     Tampa, FL
University of Southern California               Los Angeles, CA
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville           Knoxville, TN
The University of Texas at Austin               Austin, TX
The University of Texas at Dallas               Richardson, TX
University of the Pacific                       Stockton, CA
University of Toledo                            Toledo, OH
The University of Tulsa                         Tulsa, OK
The University of Utah                          Salt Lake City, UT
University of Virginia                          Charlottesville, VA
University of Washington                        Seattle, WA
University of West Florida                      Pensacola, FL
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire              Eau Claire, WI
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse               La Crosse, WI
University of Wisconsin-Madison                 Madison, WI
University of Wyoming                           Laramie, WY
Vanderbilt University                           Nashville, TN
Villanova University                            Villanova, PA
Virginia Commonwealth University                Richmond, VA
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State        Blacksburg, VA
  University
Washburn University                             Topeka, KS
Washington University in St. Louis              St. Louis, MO
Wayne State University                          Detroit, MI
Weber State University                          Ogden, UT
Wellesley College                               Wellesley, MA
West Virginia University                        Morgantown, WV
Western Michigan University                     Kalamazoo, MI
Western Washington University                   Bellingham, WA
Wichita State University                        Wichita, KS
Worcester Polytechnic Institute                 Worcester, MA
Yale University                                 New Haven, CT

Anonymous. (2010a), Muslim Students' Association. Retrieved October
20, 2010 from http://www.msanationat.org/resources/msawebsices.html
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