In the movie The Interpreter, Sean Penn as a Secret Service agent looking to stop a political assassination tells the team working the case that there is no profile for a suicide bomber. What Husain is saying to us is pretty much the same thing. While many terrorists share the same ideology and often high levels of education, other than that, there is no profile. There is however a pattern:
Medical and engineering colleges across the world only accept the most intelligent students, the highest of academic achievers. In the Arab world, the parental and social pressures on young people to pursue medical and engineering careers only compounds the misery of creative young minds, forced to study subjects under duress. Thousands of undergraduates seek greater meaning in life, an experience beyond the mundane necessities of medicine, and a purpose that occupies their free time. Islamist networks neatly slot into this void.So the patriarchal society of Islamic countries forces young men to study that which they may have the aptitude but not the desire and they rebel by becoming more religious. What if their parents allowed them to study other subjects, would we have less exremism? A good question to ask Husain.
When in Britain, for example, they become misfits among English cultural exclusivity and develop their own socio-religious networks. Suddenly there appears a need to display their being excessively Muslim: beards grow longer, trousers shorter, music condemned, confrontational politics advocated and the company of women shirked. The terror suspects arrested in Britain all manifested these traits. This turning to Wahhabi Islam, an austere form of Saudi religiosity, combined with political Islamism, has proven to be a lethal cocktail. What we call 'Al Qaeda' is only one manifestation of that mindset.