Shades of radicalisation | Pakistan Today

Shades of radicalisation

Understand to overcome

First shade of radicalisation is known as Complete Isolation Condition (CIC) which includes those who are illiterate or semi literate and blindly follow the dictates of social elders


Radicalisation process involves a series of steps which complement each other and modulate individual or collective human thinking. Each step has its own significance and importance. Sometimes these steps are in form of a lecture or a sermon or even prolonged interactive sessions with an individual or a group through direct or indirect mechanisms. At times repeated actions, important decisions or frequent demonstrations can also have a considerable impact on viewers, spectators or bystanders paving the way for radicalised views or actions. The viewer or the listener often readily accepts the narration of facts with a varying degree of understanding depending upon a number of factors which differentiate one radicalised individual from the other. We shall now examine different shades of radicalisation and try to find out their reasons and logic.

First shade of radicalisation is known as Complete Isolation Condition (CIC) which includes those who are illiterate or semi literate and blindly follow the dictates of social elders. Whosoever controls or exerts appreciable influence or has access to the spiritual mentor or social elder, these individuals become his acolytes and followers. These persons do not consult any other source or converse with any other religious scholar or a literate person of their area to verify, authenticate and certify the statements or narration of facts of their prayer leader or mosque administrator or elder. Majority of these persons are conservative and dislike innovation and love to move around in an isolated social space. If anyone tries to guide them or correct them on a certain issue then they become agitated and defend their beliefs vociferously. These persons have the greatest potential of carrying out a terror attack or being used in the commission of a terrorist act. The mode of their bonding for unflinching support might be political, religious, sectarian, tribal or community based. For example, all leading religio-political personalities wield an impressive control over their followers. The latter are ready to do anything on the orders of their mentors. Similarly, tribal elders exercise a complete social authority over their tribesmen. Any decision taken by them in any matter has to be followed by all, young and old, as a token of respect and social discipline. Here disobedience means isolation and desolation leading to social segregation, alienation and seclusion.

The second shade is known as Complete Obstinacy Condition (COC) which contains those persons who are illiterate or semi literate or highly educated with a high inherent tendency to debate and discuss religious, political, sectarian, factional, community based and tribal issues with their friends, relatives and other persons in their social circle. However, they have one drawback in their personalities which makes them least susceptible to the logical assertions of others. They are intransigent, rigid, stubborn and determined. Once they have conceived a subject according to their understanding and comprehension it is nearly impossible for them to change their thinking through logical reasoning. They usually go to any extent to defend their judgment of facts and cognizance. These persons may not be associated with a particular personality (religious or non-religious) or a group but have an appreciable innate inertia for not changing or altering their views about a subject. Majority of these persons get radicalised online and always visit particular websites where discussions are amenable to their liking. Whenever they confront with questions about their beliefs, ideologies or concepts they often lose control and use abusive language or forced their understanding on others. These persons are motivated individuals who can very easily be goaded into committing a terror act. For example, on 22 July 2011 Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people by detonating a van bomb amid the Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo, then shot dead 69 participants of a Workers Youth League (AUF) Summer Camp on the island of Utøya. In August 2012 he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism. His texts called Islam and Cultural Marxism the enemy and advocated the deportation of all Muslims from Europe, while also claiming that feminism existed to destroy European culture.

Once a person is radicalised he or she can do anything let alone laying down his or her life for the achievement of an imaginary elevated benchmark

The third shade is called Complete Personalisation Condition (CPC) which contains individuals who are usually semi literate or highly educated and normally do not possess a strong impressionist mind. They tend to see everything in light of a particular incident in their lives. In other words they pivot around everything on a particular event or episode occurred during their life span which has left serious imprints on their personalities. A continuous emotional, psychological or social struggle is at work with them all the time. The burning passion suddenly explodes in form of revenge which finally translates into a terror act. These persons also utilise computers and get radicalised through e-learning. Such radicalisation is unintentional since they relate everything to their personal mishaps or losses. The lone wolf syndrome can be bracketed in this radicalisation mode. For example, on 15 April 2013 two bombs went off near the finishing line of Boston Marathon. The culprits were two brothers, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement agencies. Investigations revealed that the Tsarnaevs, who spent part of their childhoods in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan but lived in the United States for about a decade prior to the bombings, planned and carried out the attack on their own and were not connected to any terrorist organisation.

Fourth shade is known as Complete Vacillation Condition (CVC) which contains those individuals who are semi literate or educated but cannot make up their minds firmly. These individuals get radicalised through a process depending upon duration, mode, personality and forceful exertion of their contact during interactive sessions. In other words these people are mature men or women of immature mind. They are quite susceptible to external arguments and lack conviction in execution of tasks. If such persons are to be used in any terror connected activity then they must be administered with some type of medicine for stability and composure. In majority of the terror tasks they fail to execute it properly. For example, on 1 May 2010 Faisal Shahzad, a naturalised US citizen, tried to bomb Times Square through parking a SUV loaded with explosives but could not execute it perfectly. He was finally arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Apart from these four basic shades there might be a combination of different hues through which an individual can get radicalised.

Once a person is radicalised he or she can do anything let alone laying down his or her life for the achievement of an imaginary elevated benchmark. The radicalised person might be thinking through a manipulated mechanism of controlled human mind space effect whereas his or her mentor, the radicalisation motivator (human or technical medium), constantly hammers on the exposed frailty of nerve system of the individual for a perpetuated process of radicalisation. On a larger scale such processes produce a radicalised social environment where each word spoken and every action taken is viewed with a particular mindset. In other words, the radicalised environment thrives on human ignorance. Unfortunately, knowingly or unknowingly, we all contribute to this environment.