Horgan maintains that counterterrorism efforts have been hampered by the lack of rigorous, quality research, as well as by the tendency of political leaders to act based on a political calculus rather than listening to experts who have produced solid research. Dr. Horgan is on a mission to deepen our understanding of and response to terrorism by improving the quality of the literature through empirical research using primary sources (e.g., interviews with former terrorists), arriving at conclusions based on the evidentiary data, and applying statistical tools to analyze data.
Based on his extensive interviews of 160 to 180 former terrorists, Horgan suggests these answers to the questions posed above:
identified by Horgan, shows why infiltrating mosques and hanging out in hookah bars is a waste of time and resources. These folks tend to —
(b) Believe that their current political involvement does not give them the power to effect real change.
(c) Identify with perceived victims of the social injustice they are fighting.
(d) Feel the need to take action rather than just talking about the problem.
(e) Believe that engaging in violence against the state is not immoral.
(f) Have friends or family sympathetic to the cause.
(g) Believe that joining a movement offers social and psychological rewards such as adventure, camaraderie and a heightened sense of identity.
, i.e., how do they go from living normal lives to murdering innocent people in a manner calculated to evoke widespread terror?
A May 2013 article in “Rolling Stone” quotes
Horgan as saying —
concurs that holding radical beliefs does not predict who will engage in terrorist acts:
I have found that many home-grown al-Qaeda terrorists are not attracted by religion or ideology alone — often their knowledge of Islamist theology is wafer-thin and superficial — but [they are] also [attracted by] the glamour and excitement that al-Qaeda type groups purport to offer.