The poisonous narrative of Islamist radicalisation
On October 31, 29-year-old Uzbek Sayfullo Saipov was charged with a terror-related crime after he allegedly drove a rented truck onto a bike path in lower Manhattan, killing eight people. On November 1, 25-year-old Tunisian Ziad Gharbi was arrested after a traffic policeman was stabbed to death near the Tunisian parliament. What they had in common was a murderous perversion of the Islamic faith.
“It appears that Mr Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks — he did this in the name of ISIS (Islamic State),” said John Miller, New York deputy police commissioner. “He appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.”
The Tunisian terrorist is said to have “adopted takfiri thought three years ago” in the belief that “killing security forces is a form of jihad.”
It remains to be seen whether these men acted on their own. What is clear, however, is they were both inspired by the poisonous narrative put out by ISIS and similar jihadist groups. The perverted ideology is widely accessible on the internet. Extremist operatives can also use mosques and prisons as venues to radicalise vulnerable or mentally unstable individuals.
Political leaders might be pressured to look for expedient solutions but counter-radicalisation efforts will require painstaking work and concerted cooperation between nations. There are no quick fixes for this global problem that is likely to plague all humanity for a long period of time.