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 1. What issues challenge counterterrorism strategies? 

 2. Nidal Hasan on the exterior was a successful man who was a serving mid-grade U.S. Army Officer and an educated professional psychiatrist. What was really going on with Nidal Hasan on the inside, and what were the factors that contributed to his turning on fellow soldiers and gunning down 13 of them when they were unarmed in an office building? The Tsarnaev brothers were off-spring of Central Asian immigrants who greatly benefited from American society by leveraging the social welfare system and taking advantage of educational assistance. They were far better off than their close relatives still living in former Soviet Republics, so what were the factors which inspired them to kill innocent Boston Marathon spectators, including women and young children whom they mingled with only minutes before setting off their bombs? 


1.  We can never truly know what goes on inside the minds of those individuals who decide to use violence on others. It is only afterwards that the truth of their actions slowly become known. Nidal Hasan was born in the United States, but his parents and family were from Palestine. Hasan only became religious later in his life as he began to explore what it meant to be a Muslim. Eventually he went through a radicalization period and then turned to violence. Perhaps it was because he was considered to be an outsider for most of his life and did not fit in with the crowd. Perhaps it was this sense of isolation which led him to delve deeper into his religious life and take it very seriously. His religion began to take over his life and he based many of his actions around his religious beliefs. He believed that fighting for god was a noble deed and his devout beliefs led him to commit murder (Poppe, 2018). I think religion played a large part in why he committed an act of terrorism.

                The Tsarnaev brothers were fairly normal and did not exhibit any obvious signs of desiring to commit mass murder. Despite living in the United States instead of a war zone, they were still surrounded by their religious family members. This closely knit religious community was its own little island which may have helped to further ingrain the radicalization in their lives (Gessen, 2015). I think it was the zealous religious background which allowed them to rationalize their violent actions. The religious radicalization was a large influencing factor in their actions later in their lives.

2.  Nidal Hasan lost his mother at the age of 31 which profoundly impacted his views. According to Clint Watts, author of Major Nidal Hasan and the Ft. Hood Tragedy: Implication for the U.S Armed Forced, Hasan was greatly affected by his mother’s death which led him to explore his religion and beginning to place it in a more prominent position in his life.

As Hasan was internally coping with the lost of his mother, he began to lean more towards an ultraconservative Islam. He followed Anwar al-Awlaki’s sermons which later manifested his ideology to further his exploration Islam and eventually conducting a violent act against the U.S.

While serving in the U.S. military as a psychiatrist, he frequently counseled Soldiers that returned from overseas, their stories humiliated him as they recited events that engaged in combat against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, he presented a Koranic Worldview that essentially was openly discussed his extremist beliefs and for the DoD to allow Soldiers to have the option to be released from the military from having to serve in a combat environment that hinders someone’s religious beliefs.

His personal grievances against the military for his upcoming deployment to fight against other Muslims, and depression and anger because of religious discrimination were the result of his motivation to committing violent actions against his fellow Soldiers.

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