No single cause, solution to religious radicalization - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

No single cause, solution to religious radicalization


When it comes to the war on terrorism, political leaders may disagree on how to label the enemy, but there is one word they can all agree on – radicalism.

In last week’s San Bernardino shooting, investigators now know the shooters, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook, supported radical Islam.

"As the investigation has progressed we have learned that both subjects were radicalized and have been for quite some time," FBI assistant director in charge David Bowdich said.

Wayne Bowen, department of history chair at Southeast Missouri State University, said the couple is not representative of the larger Muslim population.

"These are people who do not fundamentally understand Islam, it's a very narrow interpretation," Bowen said.

Bowen served in the Middle East in the U.S. military and has studied the culture at length. He said often radical supporters pick and choose certain aspects of religion to follow.

"They look for theological and political support within the doctrine of their faith," Bowen said.

Investigators continue to work to figure out what drew the shooters to extremist beliefs.

But the path to radicalization, Bowen said, can be a muddied one.

"There's not a single solution or explanation as to what causes radicalization."

Typically radical groups attract people who are well off.

"Not the poor, not the uneducated but [people] often with university level education," Bowen said.      

Data shows it's young American males who are most likely to support ISIS in the U.S.

Bowen said age can play a role.

"Young men and to a certain extent young women are going to be attracted by adventure and exciting new movements. And so there is that element in
society that is going to happen regardless."

To slow the spread of radical beliefs change may have to come from within.

"Primarily it's something that's going to have to come out of the Islamic world to resolve it,"
Bowen said.

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