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The Changing Terrorist Profile

The Changing Terrorist Profile

The recent tide of reports claiming that large swarms of Western Muslim women of various ages are planning to join ISIS, and other reports accusing Western Muslim women of plotting terrorist attacks in the United States, is transforming the traditional terrorist profile commonly identified in the West as a middle-aged, pious, brown man.

Just a few weeks ago, federal prosecutors arrested and accused two NYC women of planning to construct an explosive device for a terrorist attack in the United States. The two women, Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, were arrested in Queens, New York after an undercover investigation determined that they were both plotting a homegrown terrorist attack. Velentzas and Siddiqui have also been accused of being inspired by ISIS propaganda.

A few days after news of this surfaced, reports of a Philadelphian woman planning to join ISIS emerged. Keonna Thomas, 30, was preparing to travel to Syria to join ISIS before authorities arrested her in her Philadelphia home.

These arrests emerged nearly a month after three British teenage girls allegedly traveled to Istanbul to make their way into Syria to join ISIS. The girls, aged between 15 and 16, demonstrate a change in age demographic and gender of the conventional terrorist, who is propagated by the corporate media as a middle-aged man. Further, their story does not fit into the common narrative of a terrorist who has a history of being over zealous and aggressive. Rather, these are three, normal teenage girls who attended a high school in east London and did not previously display any sign of violence.

A mere Google search of the “traditional terrorist profile” will display numerous images of brown, middle-aged men with beards and guns, the majority of them wearing keffiyehs. There are very few photos of white males. There isn’t a single photo of Adam Lanza, Timothy McVeigh or Craig Stephen Hicks, although all of them fit a common profile: white, middle-aged men, who are responsible for domestic terrorism. This contributes to the false victimization of the white man against the common enemy: a brown man with a beard, a narrative the mainstream media and Hollywood propagate to uphold the white man’s superiority and to justify foreign invasions and Western hegemony.

However, this conventional profile is now extending beyond brown men to include brown women of all ages. The Guardian reports, “Sixty British women and girls, including 18 teenagers, are believed to have travelled to Syria to join Islamic State (ISIS) militants.”

This integration of women of various ages into the terrorist profile and wider terrorist narrative serves to target the entire Muslim community and demonstrate that the community as a whole is barbaric and violent; that not just the men, but also the women should be feared.  This shift is bound to perpetuate more Islamophobia, police profiling and surveillance, and bigotry toward the Muslim community en masse.

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Written by Halimah Elmariah 

Image by Steve Snodgrass

View Comments (4)
  • It’s the supremacist indoctrination in the garb of religion that’s making not only the men but also the women just brainwashed swarm of rats who’s following the pied piper (Islam) to their dooms. Muslims aren’t the inheritors of Hitler Nazi ideology but they themselves have brought this sort of imagination into their mindset. If you criticise anything about them, they’re more likely resort to embracing such lunatic fringes of being bigots of dangerous nature. All sorts of reasoning is going to prove futile since, religion is used on them to make them immune to any faculty of logical thinking.

    • Absolutely true. Their bigotry is institutionalized in their doctrine, as put forth in the evil Quran. Nothing has changed in Islam since the 7th century, when Mohammed conducted genocide of Christians, Jews and any others who did not accept him as the prophet of his invented god.

    • All sorts of reasoning is going to prove futile since, religion is used on them to make them immune to any faculty of logical thinking. Unfortuntely thats true for non muslims too. First of all the things you say about Islam is not logical, and its hateful. Whenever we try present a narrative which is very much rational you say we are apologists. Whenever we say suppose for example that their are property rights for women or education is obligated on everyone both deen and dunya you try very tooth and nail to refute it, instead when, I am sorry to say is very much logical.Its to attach everything negative with Islam is where the problem lies and you are hell bent on proving the same. Its not that bible or hindu scriptures are not filled with violence and misogyny but when we bring forth explanations about whats written with logic ,you guys reteirate like there was no yesterday. and besides your history about certain events are just OUTSTANDING . Whats there to argue. Its not criticism of Islam since 2001 thats the problem, but the criticism is sometimes, not always fallacious and EMOTIONAL and gets carried away is the problem . The criticism of Islam is for Eradication and for others including hinduism its just for reformation with present values and to ensure perpetual longetivity keeping in mind equally if not exceedingly violent past of all religions including christians and others including muslims. Also it reeks of apologetics. Iraq was invaded for its Weapons of Mass destruction not for bringing democracy to its people or for that matter for any constructive effort. Saying that it was just the region was always destructive is being in complete denial. It was very peaceful from 1400 A.D to 1800 A.D then Napoleon the christian came along and began the PEACEFUL colonization of natives. What logic demands that USA removes a secular government in Iran in 1950,s or for that matter in communist afghanistan. I mean what logic is that you tell me. Now ofcourse you will write some misinterpreted verses of Quran to throw of serious questions. Well here we go again. I can use Bible too you know or some Vedangas perhaps. But that does not derail the reason for overthrowing Secular democratic Iran under mossadegh in 1950,s or Communist afghanistan.

      • Have I stopped you ever from criticizing other religions whether Hinduism, Christianity or Judaism etc. You can criticize any religion for their faults, I’m not the one stopping you from that ever.
        You said about Iraq being attacked for WMD’s, that’s correct and I do believe they were there as Iraqis are not superman who could defeat and kill more than a million Iranians and Kurds. Do you know, after fighting for 8 long years with Iran, Iraqis might have killed maybe 200000 or more people/soldiers but after ceasefire in fighting, they went on with the fight and killed triple that number by indiscriminate use of Mustard gas, nerve gas and so many other biological weapons. They also killed more than half a million Kurds and other rebels in Iraq who were against Saddam by using poison gases on them. Maybe, you don’t ponder over these facts since you’re indoctrinated yourself that Iraqis are superman and kill so many people without batting an eyelid.
        Regarding US tactics in Afghanistan, US can’t defeat USSR in military confrontation in direct fashion hence it invented the concept of low-cost armies of motivated people who could be good in guerrilla warfare. This way, US could slowly weaken even the powerful superpower then. However, this tactic misfired and the others copied it to the hilt. Pakistan copied it to create Jihadi outfits by the hundreds to defeat India. Saddam Hussein copied it to create ISIS to confront US after getting defeated…link: //…add https// to find the full article.
        And regarding writing verses of Quran, I haven’t read the Quran ever nor I’ve read other books like Bible, Torah, Vedas etc. I’m atheist/humanist. What I feel is right, I write down in my comments. If you feel them wrong in their conception or having flaws, do point out….it’s your right of freedom.

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