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Putting a nail in the ‘self radicalisation’ coffin

A lot of experts are not experts. Take the term ‘self-radicalisation’: it is a myth. Two recent cases illustrate why radicalisers are so important.

Given the enormous interest in all things terrorism we are inundated with so-called ‘expertise’. Except a lot of experts are not experts. Take the term ‘self-radicalisation’: it is a myth. Two recent cases illustrate why radicalisers are so important.

Anwar al-Awlaki

Anwar Nasser al-Awlaki was a Yemeni-American imam and alleged militant. According to U.S. government officials, as well as being a senior recruiter and motivator, he was centrally involved in planning terrorist operations for the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda. According to The New York Times, al-Awlaki’s public statements and videos have been more influential in inspiring acts of terrorism in the wake of his killing than before his death.

Aboud Rogo

Aboud Rogo Mohammed was a Kenyan Muslim cleric. He was alleged to have been an Islamist extremist and was accused of arranging funding for the al-Shabaab militia in Somalia. He was shot dead in Kenya, and his death triggered protests and violence by hundreds of protestors. David Ochami, a Kenyan journalist, stated that Rogo had the oratory prowess of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and the logic of Egyptian ideologue Yusuf al Qaradawi.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Programme Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of five books on terrorism.

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