Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The Radicalization of Faisal Shahzad

| May 7, 2010

"The radicalization of Faisal Shazad raises important questions for three sets of actors: the people and government of Pakistan, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, and American Muslims. Before delving into these aspects further, allow me to present my basic theory about how he got radicalized. Based partly on my studies of Muslim youth in the west, I suspect that Shahzad was first influenced by various websites that encourage and propagate extremist religious views, mixing religious bigotry and dogma with conspiracy theories specifically targeting a younger generation of Muslims living in the west. Secondly, Faisal likely searched for militant training camps in and around Pakistan's troubled frontier after he decided he would try to conduct a terrorist attack in the U.S. Economic distress may also have played a role in his radicalization, though the choice of target implies that something greater than personal grievance was at play — Times Square may have been suggested by his militant trainers in Waziristan, who are well aware of New York's symbolic importance...."

Continue reading:


For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Abbas, Hassan.“The Radicalization of Faisal Shahzad.” Foreign Policy, May 7, 2010.