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A topic for a PhD thesis: What makes 12-years old boys become killers?

Reader comment on item: "The Battle against Islamism Has Not Yet Started"

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Aug 21, 2016 at 18:14

Dear Dr Pipes, It was reported by CNN that according to President Erdogan of Turkey, it was a 12 to 14 year old boy who was responsible for the suicide bombing that killed 51 people in a wedding party in that country couple of days back. I have absolutely no reason to doubt the President of the country and I think no one among us should have any doubts. Mr Erdogan must be stating the truth. It is said thatthe bomb was targeted at a Kurdish celebration.

For an external observer like me, Kurdish and Turkish people should celebrate together and my naive eyes see no reason why they should kill each other. But little do I understand about the way that part of the world works.

In your blog above, you say that the battle against Islamism has not yet started and you draw parallels from the battles against communism and fascism.

I think battle against Islamism will not start until it starts from withinIslam. What are Muslim sociologists doing? Are there any Muslim sociologists? When a 12-year old boy becomes a suicide bomber inside a land-locked region where 98% of the population is Muslim for centuries and for miles and miles (if not hundreds of miles), we need to ask several questions: Under what circumstances a 12-year old child can be manipulated to kill? How can he be manipulated to die? What were the parents doing? Were there any teachers, what were they doing? What were uncles, aunts, cousins, friends doing? What was the village doing? What were the singers, artists and dancers doing?

Someone needs to write a PhD thesis on this or similar topics. In every culture such theses have been written. What will it take for the Islamic world to start exploring these questions?

It is important that Islamic world poses these questions to itself and finds its own answers. Any answer found from outside will be easy to discard even if it is right.

The first battleground against Islamism must be a battleground where a 98%-Islamic majority has lived together for hundred of miles in every direction for many centuries. Someone, in the Islamic world, needs to pick a pen.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

I don't see a PhD here. Children and impressionable and so 12-year-olds do what they are told is honorable and brave.

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