[ by Charles Cameron -- as Karl Sharro notes, the Guardian piece "says it all" ]
British jihadis bought 'Islam for Dummies' and 'Koran for dummies' before heading off to Syria. Says it all: http://t.co/sJ1Dp7sNEj
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) July 9, 2014
The Guardian article linked in that tweet contains the following para:
Their path to radicalisation involved inspiration from material from Osama bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam, online material, and using the internet to chat with extremists overseas. As part of their preparations they ordered books online from Amazon, including titles such as Islam For Dummies, the Koran For Dummies and Arabic For Dummies.
Here are two other paras of interest:
School friends Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, both 22, pleaded guilty to terrorism offences before their trial could start at Woolwich crown court.
Police did not know the men had travelled to Syria, where they spent eight months, until one of their mothers contacted detectives in May last year, shortly after the pair had left. She had found a note written by her son saying he had gone to fight and wished to “die as a martyr”.
My comment here? My own frequent focus is on the importance of religious drivers in contemporary terrorism — and that’s present here too, but as what is distinctly a secondary theme.
More to the point, the two were “school friends” — supporting Marc Sageman’s contention in Leaderless Jihad and Understanding Terror Networks that bonds of friendship play an important role in recruitment. Also of note, it was once again [this example is from the UK, link is to US data] the support of the Muslim community that gave police the heads up that lead to these arrests.
As to wanting to “die as a martyr” — perhaps obtaining a deeper understanding of Islam than Islam for Dummies can present would be advisable first. Ordering a copy of Arabic for Dummies makes sense, perhaps — but Martyrdom for Dummies is strictly for dummies.