Why some Muslim clerics become jihadists
What turns people into radical jihadist clerics? A new book by an MIT political scientist offers a new answer: thwarted career ambitions.
More specifically, the book finds, a certain portion of Muslim clerics who end up advocating for jihad — war against Islam’s foes — started out as mainstream clerics looking for state-sponsored jobs where they could use their intellectual training, only to become unemployed, disenchanted, and radicalized.
“Frustration with circumstances can make people angry and lead them to political violence,” says Richard Nielsen, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Political Science and author of a newly published book on the subject, based on years of original research.