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 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 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.