Dean C. Alexander’s latest book provides an informative tool for terrorism experts, practitioners, and the general public.
The ability to attract multiple individuals to terrorism will cause terror groups to continue to exploit this subset of group membership, which makes this work particularly worth studying.
“Alexander painstakingly discusses different kinds of family terror networks, the ways in which they’re recruited, and the types of plots in which they’re likely to be involved. He devises a predictive model that draws upon his analysis of more than 100 case studies and offers a lucid, broad synopsis of terrorism generally and of law enforcement responses to it. Alexander is the director of the Homeland Security Research Program at Western Illinois University, where he’s also a professor of law enforcement and justice administration, so his credentials as an expert are impeccable, and his research, as presented in this book, is rigorous. At the very least, he makes a compelling case that family terror networks pose a worrisome risk and that it’s a phenomenon that’s specific enough to warrant its own mode of analysis, set apart from other types of terrorism studies… A timely assessment of a burgeoning terror problem.” Kirkus Reviews
People do embrace extremism despite not being introduced to such ideas at home. Yet, my research of over 100 cases proffers that family terror links appear in radicalism more willingly and thoroughly than those without kinship. Indeed, family structures are very influential in potential terrorist participation.
Last week President Donald Trump called on European countries to take 800 ISIS members that are in U.S. custody in Syria or “we will be forced to release them.”
It is estimated there are thousands of ISIS widows and children who are based in Iraq and Syria, many from Europe. Last week, the Guardian newspaper reported that some “1,500 foreign women and children” are in a refugee camp in northern Syria. In November 2017, the United Nations reported that more than 40,000 foreign fighters left 110 countries to join terrorist groups, including ISIS, in Iraq and Syria.
Family terror bonds – also known as family terror networks – comprise two or more people from the same clan who aid in or carry out terrorist activities. Well-known examples of such incidents include two sets of brothers and three cousins who participated in the terror attacks on 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombers and the husband and wife San Bernardino terrorists. Overseas instances of this terror phenomenon include the Paris attacks in November 2015, the Brussels incidents in March 2016, and multiple suicide bombings by two different families in Surabaya, Indonesia, in May 2018. Investigating terror suspects may lead to surprising findings regarding other crimes of individuals and their family members.
My 7-minute interview on ISIS and my new book, Family Terror Networks, on the most important Wash, DC news radio station (WTOP).
A new book authored by Western Illinois University Homeland Security Professor Dean C. Alexander addresses the aspects of family terror networks, their implications and countering this increasingly prominent facet of international terrorism.
"Family Terror Networks," the first monograph of its kind, discusses the characteristics of family terror networks and chronicles case studies involving them across ideologies. It proposed a model for predicting family terror networks and its utility in combating this type of political violence.
Additionally, an analysis of the 118 case studies of family connected terrorism involving 138 examples of kin relationships (e.g., brothers, husbands/wives and fathers/sons) is shared.
There are many schemes by which to analyze the prevalence of terrorists in family units, aptly designated as family terror networks or family affiliated terrorism. This deviancy, occurring within the rubric of social networks, is not new. Terrorism within family units is a fact that has occurred throughout history. Family frameworks enable higher instances of conversion to radical beliefs, given the credibility and trust that attach as opposed to that in unaffiliated networks. Such radicalization has materialized across diverse ideologies: from religiously motivated precepts to national liberation and from hate-based ideologies to other right-wing perspectives.