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MINDSET OF INDIVIDUAL JIHADISTS & ISLAMISTS, AND THEIR FAMILIES

This section of DiscoverTheNetworks explores the psychology of individual jihadists -- the belief system and the thought processes that cause them to engage in suicide missions as expressions of faith. This section also examines how the family members of jihadists offer considerable emotional support and encouragement to those who engage in these acts of murder and self-destruction.

Jihadists are created by a formal and informal education that begins in early childhood with collaborating messages from parents, teachers, textbooks, clerics, television programs, and the ambient culture. These major influences imbue youngsters with contempt for non-Muslms ("infidels"), and with a yearning to experience the glories of jihad, which, according to the Quran, will earn its participants eternal rewards in Paradise. The Quran contains many verses that stress the importance (and the nobility) of jihad. For example: 

  • "But do not think of those that have been slain in God's cause as dead. Nay, they are alive! With their Sustainer have they their sustenance. They are very happy with the reward they received from Allah (for dying as a shaheed) and they rejoice for the sake of those who have not joined them (i.e., have not yet died for Allah)." (Quran 3:169-70)
  • “Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure” (Quran 61:4).
  • "Allah has purchased the believers, their lives and their goods. For them (in return) is the Garden [of paradise]. They fight in Allah’s Cause, and they slay and are slain; they kill and are killed . . . it [paradise] is the promise of Allah to them.” (Quran 9:111)

 

The impact of such passages is multiplied if a young person happens to come into contact with recruiters for Islamist and jihadist organizations. Former jihadist Tawfiq Hamid recalls that as a teenager, for instance, he met some members of the terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah. Their rhetoric influenced him, and as a result: "My hatred toward non-Muslims increased dramatically, and jihadi doctrine became second nature to me."

RESOURCES:

The Development of a Jihadist's Mind
By Tawfiq Hamid
April 6, 2007

The Terrorists in Their Own Words: Interviews with 35 Incarcerated Middle Eastern Terrorists
By Jerrold Post
Spring 2003

Inside the Mind of an Iraqi Suicide Bomber
By Aparisim Ghosh
June 28, 2005

We Were Brought up to Hate -- and We Do
By Nonie Darwish
December 2, 2006

I Was Raised for Jihad
By Nonie Darwish
April 17, 2005

The Psychology Behind Suicide Bombings
By Pierre Rehov
July 15, 2006

Symposium: Homegrown Jihadis
By Jamie Glazov
January 30, 2009

The Educated Muslim Terrorist
By Wm. B. Fankboner
January 20, 2010

Inside the Mind of an Islamist
By Phyllis Chesler
February 7, 2011

A Muslim Upbringing and Terrorism
By Jamie Glazov
March 4, 2011


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