Radical Islam 16 years after the 9/11 attacks

, September 12, 2017

Q: In retrospect, 16 years after the 9/11 attacks, do you think that radical Muslims are more convinced that they are going to win eventually, or are they less convinced of that?

A: I believe that their expectations from the attack and the attacks that followed it were larger than what really evolved later. They, themselves, understand that they didn’t achieve the goals that they saw in front of them 16 years ago.

Q: Do you think that radical Muslims are going to lose faith and are we going to see a decline in the extent of terrorist activities, or are they going to learn the lessons from their lack of success and try to do more?

A: On the one hand, there are those who understand that this is not the way, and their understanding of this is based also on the failure of ISIS losing its main strongholds on the ground. On the other hand, within the radical ideology there are apparatuses that help the believers to stick to their beliefs, to get over what we call the “cognitive dissonance” and to explain to themselves the failures of ISIS and al-Qaeda as only obstacles in the way, and if they stick to the way of terrorism, finally they are going to emerge victorious.

It depends also on the resilience of the Western regimes because, first and foremost, there is a need to fight against them, to arrest them, to judge them, and then to try to encourage pragmatic Muslims, non-violent Muslims, to raise their voices much louder and instill in the Muslim community a non-violent spirit.

About Israel Shrenzel

Israel Shrenzel is a former chief analyst in the Arabic section in the research division of the Israel Security Agency. He currently teaches at Tel Aviv University in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies. His research covers modern Islamic thought (especially Islamic modernism and the Muslim Brotherhood), ancient Islam, and Jewish-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages. Shrenzel also researched the concept of global jihad and its manifestations in recent decades.