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April 24th, 2013
09:32 AM ET

Opinion: The appeal of Islamic radicalism

Editor's note: Ken Ballen, a former federal prosecutor, is president and founder of Terror Free Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization that investigates the causes of extremism. He is the author of "Terrorists in Love: True Life Stories of Islamic Radicals."

By Ken Ballen, Special to CNN

(CNN) - There are many unanswered questions about the motivations of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But it is becoming increasingly clear that they were inspired by faith in a radical Islamist ideology. Dzhokhar has told investigators that, among other things, he and his brother wanted to defend Islam, while Tamerlan's social media accounts are replete with clips by extremist clerics.

As the investigation continues to unravel the seeming paradox of how two apparently normal young men could commit acts of violence, classmates, neighbors and relatives of those who knew them have expressed surprise and disbelief.

I have interviewed over the past seven years more than a hundred radical extremists, including numerous al Qaeda and Taliban members, and it appears the Tsarnaev brothers fit the profile of many young men who turn to radicalism.

Young men—and they are almost always between the ages of 16 and 30—who convert to the radical Islamist cause come from a variety of socioeconomic and family circumstances. Before their conversion (and even often after), to all outward appearances they resemble their peers and seem like any other young men. What changes them?

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Islam • Terrorism

soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses

    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/.../page4

    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    May 3, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  2. faith

    Is it really surprising that Christ and Osiris WERE called "anointed" ? Kings did get anointed in that culture, ya know.

    April 26, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • Science

      And laws of association makes it part of the devil's cults too ...........does it not faith ?

      April 26, 2013 at 6:43 am |
    • Science

      Where did you go faith ?

      April 26, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • Science

      Hey faith are you a ghost of xmas past ?

      Engineering 'Ghost' Objects: Breakthrough in Scattering Illusion

      Feb. 19, 2013 — A team at the NUS Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering led by Dr Qiu Cheng-Wei has come out with an optical device to "engineer" ghosts.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130219090643.htm

      April 27, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Science

      Holy Hallucinations 35

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo

      April 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  3. Trance

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxk9TvyJrs
    ,

    April 26, 2013 at 5:52 am |
  4. LAST DAY

    The only Idea that will truly defeat the Radicalism

    has already sent by this one and only GOD of Abraham and David & Ishmael and Muhammad

    (=i.e. YAHWEH ELOHIM = HUWA ALLAH)

    here now:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    April 26, 2013 at 5:12 am |
    • Science

      The LAST DAY is here...........time to quite playing in the sand box and grow up maybe ?

      Surprising New Function for Small RNAs in Evolution.........time to pound sand maybe ?

      Apr. 19, 2013 — An international research team in including Christian Schlötterer and Alistair McGregor of the Vetmeduni Vienna has discovered a completely new mechanism by which evolution can change the appearance of an organism. The researchers found that the number of hairs on flies' legs varies according to the level of activity of a so-called microRNA.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075909.htm

      April 26, 2013 at 5:18 am |
    • Science

      And laws of association makes it part of the devil's cults too ...........does it not LAST DAY ?

      April 26, 2013 at 5:30 am |
  5. ME II

    @fred,

    "You are correct bad things cannot happen in the presence of God as it an impossibility."
    April 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    "good and bad things happen in the presence of God because God is."
    April 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Please, explain how you reconcile these two statements.

    April 25, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Fred sometimes speaks in parables.
      If Fred seems to contradict himself, it's just becuase you don't understand the context.
      The ways of Fred are mysterious, but it is not for us to question him.
      You can't cherry pick Fredisms – you must accept everything at face value.
      That's why it's called faith!

      April 25, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Science

      MR FRED.................can go pound sand !

      Surprising New Function for Small RNAs in Evolution.

      Apr. 19, 2013 — An international research team in including Christian Schlötterer and Alistair McGregor of the Vetmeduni Vienna has discovered a completely new mechanism by which evolution can change the appearance of an organism. The researchers found that the number of hairs on flies' legs varies according to the level of activity of a so-called microRNA.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130419075909.htm

      April 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  6. Big Shiz

    Science,reality,really, shut the Fuk up with pushing you're atheist agenda. Let people believe in what they want to. When you try to force people to believe what you do you become exactly what you say is wrong with religious people.

    April 25, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Science

      Hey Big S ...........you can believe what you want it is for the Children !

      An Awesome Message from P.W. Swivel

      People are People

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbD3Hlbvafo

      Thanks for watching.

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      Please watch

      The African Rift

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okWkmgkS00w

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

      http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

      April 25, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Science

      One more for you Big S

      Shout-Out: logicked

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns5pnPab29k

      April 25, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Science

      And laws of association makes it part of the devil's cults too ...........does it not ........Big S ?

      April 25, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Big Shiz

      The fact that you don't think god and science(not you fool)can coexist shows your short sightedness.

      April 25, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Science

      Vatican seeks to rebrand its relationship with science...............guess so Big S

      By Florence Davey-Attlee, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/page/4/?hpt=li_bn7

      Have a great fairy in the sky day.

      Peace

      April 25, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Big Shiz

      Fuk the Vatican and Fuk you.

      April 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Science

      No thanks

      Peace

      April 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Science

      Chomp Chomp ..............cool stuff !

      Thai Researchers Discover 100-Million-Year-Old Crocodile Fossile

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwD_hjq_V7U

      April 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  7. Science

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    April 25, 2013 at 7:31 am |
  8. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Achmed the dead terrorist has a son, guess who?

    April 24, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I vote you.

      April 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  9. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI PATION

    If you hemorrhoids like me you would be bitter too ism.

    April 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
  10. HeavenSent's Camel-Toe Diaries

    The kids at the animal shelter were told to come here.

    April 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  11. lionlylamb

    Upon the admissions of others, we all are celestial creations wherein our insides; lives our body’s creators and makers and shapers of atomic creativities. Infinitesimally small are our enigmatic Gods; ever to live upon the insides of all things celestially made and bio’logic’ally grown.

    The finite is not infinite and yet the infinite finiteness ebbs and flows onwards onto forever, upon the infinity of nothingness. We being people are as gods living upon a celestial cosmos. Our atomically made and biologically framed micro-cosmological bodies are as universes and we all are mere buildings wherein the Gods all live and take refuge. All of celestially formed Life is as cellular cosmologies, the miniaturized celestial chasms of living universalisms.

    April 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, don't bother trying to read their drivel just laugh and move on.

      April 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • bostontola

      Woody Allen would love this guy.

      April 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Teen Spirit

      smells like CS

      April 24, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Akira

      It's not CS. Lionlylamb is for real.

      April 25, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  12. lionlylamb

    Islamic and other fundamentalisms averaged percentiles' leveraging ratios of peer-based radicalisms moving passed condemnation points are jilted and scorned by the awkward humaneness of civil cultures being socially bred in generational quandaries seeking ever that and wanting ever this all without the relativities in the understanding of knowledge-based
    portrayals/

    April 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Richard

      We hear you Lionly. We hear you.
      Upon the lonesomeness of the radicalisms spews hatredisms toward the innocentisms.

      April 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Dippy

      We hear you, but we sure as hell don't understand you.

      April 24, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  13. cowtipper12

    this made me laugh because it is true

    http://imgur.com/cMsJ7FR

    April 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  14. CLICK ON REPORT ABUSE FOR ISLAM FOUNDATION

    IT IS TIME TO MAKE THIS ISLAMIC GHOST DISAPPEARED, CLICK ON REPORT ABUSE

    April 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Answer

      Let it face the humiliation it wants.

      April 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      What abuse has he commited...which of the terms of service were violated.

      It is a babbling lunatic with nothing of value to offer, but it has the right to speak its form of text based diarrhea all it wants...Just ignore it...it is harmless

      April 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • .

      So, Richard, the constant racism doesn't violate the TOS?

      April 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • STFU

      @Richard, these are the types responsible for misleading or radicalizing young muslims, like you just witnessed in Boston, one guy is dead, other is going to spend rest of his life behind bars, all because someone, rat like Pakistani Mohammad over here, poisoned their mind.

      April 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      stfu
      SO you would rather these people NOT speak in public, where we can hear what they say and speak up when we dis-agree? You would rather force them underground where their words will only be heard by the dis-enfranchised?

      Freedom of speech is important, not just from a liberty standpoint, but from a community standpoint.
      Peoples minds are "poisoned" all of the time, I personally feel that all religions use various brainwashing techniques to indoctrinate their young, and so much based on the bible which is obviously NOT gods word but mans, but people are taught to believe it. That is "poisoning" too....best to have it in the open.

      April 25, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • STFU

      Richard, I understand what you are saying, and if I judge you by your views, you are the people made this country so great, truly open minded people, but we have to stop them when their free speeches turn abuse or into hurting feeling of someone; I would never accept Nazi propaganda or KKK speeches, or Louis Farrakhan speeches for freedom of expression. Out of hundreds and thousands, it takes just one guy to snap. I come here on BB, and enjoy all different point of views of HeavenSent, Chad, Lionlylamb, Alkira, Apple Bush, but this guy p!sses me off, so, although, I agree with your thoughts, but disagree on let them go unchallenged

      April 25, 2013 at 8:19 am |
  15. HeavenSent's Camel-Toe Diaries

    It was safe until the dogs came.

    April 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • who let the dogs out

      woof woof woof woof

      April 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  16. meifumado

    I like pork chops.

    April 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Credit Jeff Dunham - Achmed the Dead Terrorist

    http://youtu.be/1uwOL4rB-go

    April 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  18. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    My Father was a magician, he made everyone pass out in mosques (and then he emptied everyones pockets), he made good money, see yourself how he robbed people in mosques
    http://youtu.be/hbFVAu1WYbw

    April 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • loser

      you mean looser !!

      April 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  19. Reality

    Tis all about the Three B Syndrome (Bred, Born and Brainwashed) is some form of religion and in this case Islam:

    Added details:

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today
    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    April 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      absolute hinduism, others absurdity of a secular , fool GOD ignorant self centered by faith, speaking of himself subject, not of subject, but shear hinduism lies to hind, truth of hindu and in to denial hinduism, truth, boom, boom, truth, boom.

      April 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    desperately poor + devoutly religious = religious extremist

    April 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Just a thought

      So you could also choose to end poverty and still manage to fix your equation?

      April 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Science

      AGREE !!!

      For all creationists and ID believers...............IT only takes minutes to figure IT out. No fairy in the sky needed !

      New Device Can Extract Human DNA With Full Genetic Data in Minutes

      May 6, 2013 — Take a swab of saliva from your mouth and within minutes your DNA could be ready for analysis and genome sequencing with the help of a new device.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130506132100.htm

      And NO ANGELS then old pope KICKED them in OFF the TEAM last year !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

      Pope's book on Jesus challenges Christmas traditions

      By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

      updated 10:56 AM EST, Fri November 23, 2012

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/22/world/europe/vatican-pope-jesus-book/index.html?iref=allsearch

      May 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      Science

      And a tag along......from previous thread Bill ?

      Did you forget this one Bill................... about the angels ?

      And NO ANGELS then old pope KICKED them in OFF the TEAM last year !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

      Pope's book on Jesus challenges Christmas traditions

      By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

      updated 10:56 AM EST, Fri November 23, 2012

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/22/world/europe/vatican-pope-jesus-book/index.html?iref=allsearch

      May 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |

      Science

      All these years Bill and there are suppose to be angels.......................then poof go the angels according to the old pope;.......

      where are the morals there Bill ?

      May 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |

      Science

      Or is that to simple for you Bill ?

      May 9, 2013 at 9:22 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.