Boston bombings triggered by extremism, not politics

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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A lot has been said to analyze the Boston bombings. Racism and political hostility have been brought up. But this time, none of these are valid reasons that triggered the attack.

Is it a matter of age and the recklessness of the suspected young Boston bombers? It is true that the two Chechen brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are young men, aged 26 and 19. But take terrorist Nidal Hassan as an example. He was almost 40 years old when he committed his crime in 2009. He was a military man and a psychiatrist working at the Fort Hood Base in Texas. He killed 13 of his colleagues.

Another example is Faisal Shahzad who belonged to a Pakistani group and who was 30 years old when he was arrested for the attempted 2010 Times Square bombing in the heart of New York.

Therefore, we notice that the perpetrators' ages are dissimilar which confirms that terrorism does not know a specific age, and it is thus not based on a certain age exploited by terrorist groups like al-Qaeda as some claim.

Was it religious or ethnic racism that pushed the minority's sons to avenge? There is no proof that the two Chechen brothers suffered from racism. It is in fact the complete opposite. They have been welcomed in the U.S. since day one. The Chechen family received a tourist visa and afterwards, the American authorities granted them the right to stay and granted them permanent residency. One of them received the American citizenship. Tamerlan married a white American girl who converted to Islam, and he and his brother were welcomed to study.

Was it political anger then? What is strange though in the two Chechen brothers' story is that they targeted the ally regime, America, and not the enemy, Russia.

They did not care about their political cause or about Chechnya’s independence from Russia as much as they cared about the cause to fight "infidels" in the U.S.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

In addition to that, there is no pressing political issue that justifies the two men's anger towards American policy. The Americans have left Iraq, and they are about to exit Afghanistan. The Americans had also refused to participate in the war in North Mali.

So if motives have nothing to do with age, race or politics, how did the two brothers commit their crime which caused hatred and fear?

It is the same old concept. It is extremist intellect that markets vengeance and hatred. The brothers' read and watched videos limited to the rhetoric of extremist Islamist groups.

They did not care about their political cause or about Chechnya’s independence from Russia as much as they cared about the cause to fight infidels in a country that provided them with safety, refuge, education and a chance to start a family.

Many have previously thought that international cooperation, war, tough security measures, and strict global laws meant limiting and ending terrorism that has targeted tens of countries in the past decade. But Boston's terrorist incident showed that the situation is much more difficult than all expectations and aspirations.

The problem has remained unchanged. Much has been done to confront terrorism but only a little has been done to fight extremism.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 22, 2013.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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