Alienation a Common Trait Among U.S. Supporters of ISIS

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The Fordham Law Center on National Security analyzed legal documents and other public information to find characteristics that make certain people susceptible to radicalization. The center reports that more than three quarters were motivated by dissatisfaction with American society and at least half expressed resentment over the oppression of Muslims worldwide. While the majority of the suspected perpetrators were United States citizens, more than half had been naturalized or had at least one foreign-born parent.

“These individuals seemed to be looking to attach to something that can help define them as well as give them a cause worth fighting for,” center director Karen J. Greenberg told the New York Times. Some were seeking religious attachment and converted to Islam. Almost all were attracted to the idea of serving the “larger purpose of the caliphate.” The average age of those accused was 26, and many still lived at home with their parents. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms played a large role in their recruitment and expressions of support for the Islamic State.

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