Through Arno’s story, we see that early emotional trauma led to a desire to lash out in violent ways - vandalism, bullying, drinking and drug use. These behaviors found an outlet in racial conspiracy paranoia. Eventually, Arno was able to leave a life of extremism through becoming involved in a community that accepted him, were kind to him, and instituted open dialogue with him.

Mubin had a “relative deprivation mindset” - he witnessed the oppression and harm caused to Islam and his fellow Muslims by the actions of the US, and began to see it as his own. Lacking the education and mentorship in his youth to contextualize the information he was receiving, he was vulnerable to self-radicalization. Mubin de-radicalized after witnessing the 9/11 attacks, and realized that his ideology could not support the murder of civilians.

Arno Michaelis

Mubin Shaikh

Stories of Radicalization

Dylan showed signs of what his mother later realized was depression - suicidal thoughts, slipping grades, acting out through petty crime. His inclination towards violence was revealed through his obsession with Nazism and vandalizing another student’s locker using hate speech. Unfortunately, Dylan mobilized and acted on his extremist ideology, dying in the process, before he could be helped.

Omar’s lack of knowledge regarding his Syrian family and Muslim identity gave him a deep desire to know more and bring out that part of himself. During this journey, he began withdrawing from liberal and secular friends, and changing the way he dressed in order to give the outward appearance of being the “right” kind of Muslim. Furthermore, his desire for adventure and fame led him down a dangerous path with a group that promised all the action he could handle, but ultimately killed him when he spoke out against the group.

Dylan Klebold

Omar al-Hammami

Proposed motives for the ambush in Dallas ranged from the shooter’s outrage over police killings of black Americans, a history of alienation followed by PTSD acquired during a tour of duty in Afghanistan, to substance abuse and sexual identity issues, and finally to being a member of a black nationalist-separatist group. Micah’s path through radicalization could have led him to become politically active with Black Lives Matter and join peaceful protests against police brutality – but instead he chose to address his perceived wrongs through extreme violence.

Ariel moved to ISIS-controlled Syria with her husband and children, where her husband is an ISIS fighter and she has claimed support of ISIS activity. Her friends believe she has been brainwashed, and struggle with their sense of loss. Although they do not know exactly why Ariel radicalized, they believe it was because of "spiritual desperation," saying that Ariel was always looking for some way to define herself, and found an identity in her new Muslim faith and ISIS.

Micah Xavier Johnson

Ariel Bradley