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The Boston Globe


Robert A. Pape

Echoes of London

The self-radicalized profiles of the Boston suspects are familiar

Prominent voices are already painting the Boston Marathon Bombings as the “next Sept. 11,” pointing to the influence of Al Qaeda or to the world’s Muslim community — as US Representative Peter King of New York has recently done. Anyone who does so is making a huge mistake.

Suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fit the model of self-radicalized terrorists — so-called “homegrown” terrorists — motivated to call attention to violence occurring against Muslims around the world. Analysis of the older brother’s YouTube account reveals a deep interest in Salafism, the fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam adhered to by Osama bin Laden. But this does not mean the Boston bombers were directed by Al Qaeda, or part of a broader Islamist conspiracy.

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