Astute piece on the making of Jihadi John by my friend Amil Khan. He rightly – in my view – points out that the lure of al-Qaeda is not in its ideology per se, more in its ability to mould injustices, local grievances and conflicts to its own agenda, providing a ready-made set of solutions to young men whether they are growing up in northern Nigeria or west London.
The result is that if you have a problem with the status quo—with the world you see around you—al Qaeda, and now Islamic State, provide you with a ready-made practical ideology, supported by soldiers confident in their ability to scare their enemy. Other anti-establishment forces such as the anti-globalisation movement are unable to match the broad-based appeal or the battlefield-earned credentials—and for many youth, the thrill—of Islamist extremism.
It is also a reminder of how our own society seems to lack any of the organising ideologies that once offered us certainty – for good or ill.