Monday, April 04, 2005

EVEN THOUGH the conclusions of the Madrid terrorism summit (see prior posts) insisted on it, there's once again proof that terrorism doesn't have much to do -if anything at all- with poverty:
"The typical recruit to al-Qaeda is Western-educated and has a wealthy, professional background, according to a new study.

"The analysis of 500 members of Osama bin Laden's organisation has turned Western experts' presumptions about al-Qa'ida upside down.

"Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist who conducted the study, said he assumed it would find that most recruits were poor and ill-educated. 'The common stereotype is that terrorism is a product of poor, desperate, naive, single young men from Third World countries, vulnerable to brainwashing and recruitment into terror,' he said.

"However, his study showed 75per cent of the al-Qaeda members were from upper-middle-class homes and that many were married with children; 60 were college-educated, often in Europe or the US.

"Some, such as British-born terrorist Omar Sheikh, were educated at fee-paying schools before heading for Afghanistan, Bosnia or Chechnya...

"Dr Sageman said most of the terrorists came from a small number of wealthy Arab countries, from immigrant communities in the West or from Southeast Asia. Few were from poor Islamic countries such as Afghanistan...

"He said most grew up in caring families concerned about their communities. The men in Dr Sageman's sample joined al-Qaeda at an average age of 26. About half grew up as religious children, but only 13 - mostly from Southeast Asia - attended Islamic schools."
By the way, the post I'm linking to is Arthur Chrenkoff's, who celebrated his first blogiversary last week. I didn't point it out since I was in slow blogging motion after the hiatus, so I'm pointing it out now. Congrats, Arthur, and thanks for sharing your magnificent insight with all of us.