By Ayman Fayed, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University, USA
The recent news about the 20 year old man from Ohio who got arrested for plotting an attack on the Capitol is quite interesting. In an interview with CNN, the man’s father mentioned that his son converted to Islam only recently. Adopting violence after a recent conversion to Islam does not seem to be an isolated case to this young white American man. In fact, the news media is full of stories of young European men, who are not originally Muslims, who also converted to Islam just recently and have already joined the ranks of ISIS.
Assuming for the sake of argument that the doctrine of Islam is inherently violent and encourages terrorism (as shallow as this is), it is still puzzling how these recent western converts can change so quickly and subscribe to the entire doctrine to the point of planning such attacks against their own countries, or fighting along side ISIS!!
One can perhaps comprehend to some degree how some people who were raised in an Islamic context may be lured into an ISIS-style doctrine. However, for westerners raised in a completely different context, it is rather difficult to conceive. It is usually impossible for people to truly change their childhood views and beliefs and immediately subscribe to all the elements of a new doctrine, particularly the violent elements. They would need time and extensive knowledge of the doctrine that can only be acquired over many years. The adoption of these recent converts to violent Jihad, therefore, cannot be the result of any rational reasoning or conviction of the doctrine.
In fact, it appears that ISIS is not just attractive to fringes of the Muslim population who truly subscribe to its advertised “religious” goals, but more dangerously, it has become attractive to many who are simply “mad” or “angry” with their government, or the entire world order, or even their own lives for one reason or another. To these people, joining ISIS is just a venue for channeling their preexisting dissatisfaction and anger rather than a result of them becoming Muslims. It is similar to how someone may start to subscribe to leftist ideology because they are mad at their boss or the company they work for rather than an actual rational conviction of the doctrine of the left.
Bottom line, ISIS has become a black hole for “angry” people, whether they are Muslims or not. It should not be called ISIS anymore. It should be called ASIS: the Angry State in Iraq and Syria!