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April 24, 2002
4:27 PM   Subscribe

An Algerian defendant tells a court of his transformation from an irreligious drug dealer on the streets of Germany to an Afghanistan-trained militant, and the psychic journey of some young Muslim slackers in England to become fighters for Al-Qaeda (NYT).
posted by semmi (14 comments total)

 
Geez, I know these people should get a life, but not *that* kind of life...
posted by laz-e-boy at 4:43 PM on April 24, 2002


While these articles inject a bit more mainstream reality into the general picture of what we're routinly getting as quasi religious/political exaltation and self-sacrifice, I'm still surprised about the lack of specific information about the drug connection. After all, Afghanistan is a major poppy producer, and I'd be surprised if the abundance of opium there to use, and the possibility of getting rich fast by trafficing it into the West didn't occur to any of those "visiting" there.
Anyone has any info on that?
posted by semmi at 4:48 PM on April 24, 2002


Actually, the story in the first link sounds remarkably like an variation on the stories of jailhouse conversions to the Nation of Islam and Church of the Creator that I've read.
Take directionless young man with a need to prove himself, feed him apocalyptic religion with a ready-made enemy and instant "brotherhood" then arm him to the teeth. It's actually pretty standard recruiting technique. Only in the Middle East it's all happening on a much grander scale.
posted by jonmc at 5:18 PM on April 24, 2002


Sort of makes--odd odd to say this--Scientology and the Moonies seem almost benign!
posted by Postroad at 5:44 PM on April 24, 2002


nice try, cult boy...
posted by techgnollogic at 6:37 PM on April 24, 2002


I'm still surprised about the lack of specific information about the drug connection. The nature of the biz should take care of that question. and I'd be surprised if the abundance of opium there to use You mean, the dope there being used by locals? What are you looking for? (i'm a little confused) In the early 20th century, Arnold Rothstein was the largest trafficker in junk via europe via the poppy belt. his proteges where Luciano, Seigel, Lansky etc. We know where these guys went. Check out the french connection for modern trafficking. also the 'pizza connection'. An operation that brought junk into...everywhere, it was based in Sicily. Postroad, goggle up the 'el Rukn gang' and have some fun;)
posted by clavdivs at 6:50 PM on April 24, 2002


jonmc: yeah... Autobiography of Malcolm X sprang to mind immediately.
posted by louie at 7:24 PM on April 24, 2002


I feel horribly sad whenever I read about this kind of stuff. The same societal conditions turning some of these "brown" fellows into Islamists are turning some of their fairer compatriots into Neo-Nazis and whatnot. Wherever you have embittered, impoverished, marginalized youths, you have a fertile breeding ground for parasitic sociopolitical viruses.

Is it possible for governments to proactively attempt to de/reprogram them, do you suppose?
posted by donkeyschlong at 8:18 PM on April 24, 2002


Take directionless young man with a need to prove himself, feed him apocalyptic religion with a ready-made enemy and instant "brotherhood" then arm him to the teeth. It's actually pretty standard recruiting technique.

You called it true and blue.

Works like magic recruitin' for them hired killers of the good ol' U.$ of A brand Armed Forces...why shouldn't it work anywhere else?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:17 PM on April 24, 2002


foldy, I'll grant you that often that has been true and several Vietnam Veterans have told me so personally. Other times(WWII, say) it has been done to noble ends.

And no matter how morally wrong the wars these men have fought in may have been, I still accord them(and my father and boss are among them) respect for their courage in facing circumstances that would have me trembling and crying out for momma, so I still salute them.
posted by jonmc at 9:22 PM on April 24, 2002


Works like magic recruitin' for them hired killers of the good ol' U.$ of A brand Armed Forces...why shouldn't it work anywhere else?

exactly, but when we pit our boys against their boys all you do is bitch, bitch, bitch...
posted by techgnollogic at 9:23 PM on April 24, 2002


"Works like magic recruitin' for them hired killers" are you calling my friends and countrymen assassians?
posted by clavdivs at 9:15 AM on April 25, 2002


never mind, not this hill, not today.
posted by clavdivs at 9:18 AM on April 25, 2002


Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck. Because we know no other nation on earth used religion or ideology to motivate its armies before AmeriKKKa, right foldy?
posted by darukaru at 9:44 AM on April 25, 2002


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