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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 15, 2013/ 6 Sivan 5773

How the unassimilated are transformed into terrorists

By John Kass

John Kass


JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) If you're the child of an immigrant, like me, or perhaps an immigrant yourself brought here as a child, you know what it's like to have one foot planted in the old world and the other planted in the new, in this amazing, sometimes frighteningly free American culture.

Some of you know what it's like to be lost, at least for a time, desperate for America, desperate for acceptance, hoping to become part of this place, and still find comfort by idealizing the old ways that you know mostly from stories around the dinner table.

At first, immigrant families might not feel completely American here, but when they go overseas or across the border to the land of their ancestors, what is the first thing they're called?

Americans.

But what of those who don't buy in, or can't, like the Tsarnaev brothers, the dead Tamerlan and his stoner kid brother Dzhokhar, allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings?

And what of those who fail to assimilate into our American culture and begin drifting, desperate to blame someone other than themselves? They're susceptible, they're hungry to belong to something, they're ripe for suggestion, and this yearning makes them useful to evil men.

"It's an issue for immigrants," said terrorist expert Anne Speckhard. "They basically have two selves - the part that belongs to the old country and the part that belongs here."

Speckhard is a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School who lectures law enforcement and counterterrorist experts and works with NATO, studying post-traumatic stress disorder and factors that lead to the recruitment of terrorists.

She's the author of "Talking to Terrorists: Understanding the Psycho-Social Motivations of Militant Jihadi Terrorists, Mass Hostage Takers, Suicide Bombers & 'Martyrs,'" for which she completed more than 400 interviews of terrorists, their families and friends, and even stayed in some of their homes.

She's made the study of the terrorist mind a large part of her life's work, and I wanted to know more about how young people raised in free societies become susceptible to recruitment and radicalization.

Like many of us, she's been fascinated by the Tsarnaevs, particularly since she worked with second-generation Muslim immigrants in Europe and tracked their problems assimilating.

"In Europe, you will find much more of a vulnerability to the militant jihad, because in some ways, they're blocked from mainstreaming," she said.

"Here, I wouldn't expect to see that. One thing we did see in Tamerlan's case, which I would expect to see, is if you get a kid who came out of a very conservative Islamic culture, starts partying and doing drugs here in the West ... he's at risk to end up what's often referred to as 'reverts,' people who go back to the faith.

"It's almost like they're looking for their identity in converting to a conservative form of Islam," she said. "It's so sad to think of any young kid getting sucked into that, but that's how these (terrorist) groups and these ideologies operate. They prey upon their anxieties and vulnerabilities."

Martyrdom, she said, sometimes becomes an option for aimless young people lost in the West. It's clear that Tamerlan had become lost for a time. His boxing career fell apart, there were drugs and loud parties, and then the conversion to radical Islam and ultimately, authorities say, to terrorism.

Please understand that I'm not saying that young immigrants or the children of immigrants make terrorists. I'm a child of immigrants. And I'm not making excuses for the Tsarnaevs. They were welcomed here; America fed and housed them at taxpayer expense, and they repaid our hospitality with murder and horror. I don't pity them, but I do want to understand what made them.

Relying on simple characterizations won't do. Blaming prayer and religion might offer politically expedient answers, but it doesn't illuminate a deadly dangerous problem that we'll have to deal with, here and in Europe, for years to come.

For an immigrants to truly become American, they have to buy into the culture. When I was a child, my father the Greek immigrant reinforced the wonderful freedoms he found here. He and my mother stressed English in the house. They insisted that we respect family, cultural and religious traditions, but also that we embrace this country and assimilate.

So we played the American sports of baseball, football, and we played them desperately, for the love of the games, yes, but also to win acceptance, hoping to become part of this new tribe, and become Americans.

And the others who become lost in this new land? They're susceptible. In some cases, Islamic martyrdom offers an out, particularly for those who think they may redeem and purge themselves through violence.

Speckhard told of a young man she interviewed years ago.

"I met a young man of Kashmiri extraction in Britain who told me he wanted to die as a martyr and said he wasn't going to attack in the UK. He had UK citizenship," she said.

"But he would definitely end his life fighting a 'jihad.' When we went on and on, I finally said, 'Do you have some terrible sin in your background that you're really worried about?'"

"He said yes."

Speckhard said that the problem is growing in the eurozone, which has a large Muslim population and is imploding economically, sparking the rise of ethnic nationalism.

"It's usually the immigrants who lose their jobs first or don't become employed," she said. "And the European countries have this large Muslim diaspora. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:



05/07/13 Lives lost mean 'Benghazi' should be more than a political buzzword
04/30/13 American football industry is on its deathbed
04/25/13 Boston terror can't be packaged neatly for American audiences
04/18/13 In the world of acts, the urge to help overwhelms
03/11/13 Senate battle between a libertarian whippersnapper, crotchety establishment
02/25/13 If only Jesse Jr. would have read his own book
02/11/13 Secret drone strikes simplify Obama Doctrine
01/29/13 Making a pet project out of Neanderthals
01/17/13 Spielberg stops 'Robopocalypse,' perhaps on orders of evil master robot
01/07/13 Reality TV, how deep can it sink?
11/08/12 Thanks, voters, for caring enough to argue
11/05/12 It's Romney by a head
11/01/12 Sandy swoops in to save Obama. Should it be allowed to?
10/18/12 The other side of the emergency room curtain
10/15/12 Droopy Chia candidates get a do-over
10/04/12 :Schoolchildren's stomachs rumble; drama queens grumble
10/01/12 : Chia Obama vs. Chia Romney: May the best greenfro win
09/25/12 : With bitter campaign in full swing, you need to watch some movies
08/02/12 : Toasting culture's absurdities
04/24/12: Why do you have to sell your privacy to win?
10/13/11: Stupid things men say to pregnant women
09/26/11: Desk zero: ‘Contagion’ lurks just outside office bathroom
09/08/11: Light up your lottery tickets, pass the Hopium
08/31/11: It was only a paper moon , but a legendary hoax
05/27/11: For 2012, it's Obama vs. the smoothies
05/05/11: Is it time to de-friend Pakistan?
04/12/11: China stretches the bounds of decency with cow-human-breast milk
03/23/11: No you're not in control; get over it
02/28/11: Chicago wanted a strongman, and it got one
01/26/11: Oh, c'mon, c'mon, Rahm-bo a victim? That's a stretch
12/13/10: WikiLeaks and Assange pretend there are no consequences
12/09/10: Trendy toys don't stand up to playthings of yore
10/11/10: Obama and his pals need some scarce Hopium for the next election
09/14/10: Obama gets a little bossy with tacit endorsement of Emanuel
08/18/10: Dead Meat walking, but heat to be applied again
07/28/10: No verdict, but Blagojevich trial still has its winners, losers
07/26/10: Obama's fall guy in Shirley Sherrod case is Vilsack the Pooh
07/21/10: Loathing of Steinbrenner softens after his death
07/19/10: Summertime, and the race cards are easy
06/28/10: Does Congress have the guts to fix what court gutted? Honestly, no
12/17/09: Belt-tightening presidential aspirant leaves room for Spam
09/27/09: ACORN can teach the GOP a thing or 2
09/03/09: Blago as author gets it wrong yet again 06/22/09: Obama's latest political play should shock no one
06/17/09: Presidential satire takes Hopium break
06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2012, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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