Academic experts fear that American support for radical Islamism has reached “unprecedented” levels, even while it stays well below the support for the extremists seen in other countries.
Academics at George Washington University’s program on extremism found that the types of Americans drawn to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) vary widely in terms of race, age, education and family background. Yet they are largely all united by their use of social media, which ISIS has been able to master as its reach has grown.
“What we do see in the United States is an unprecedented mobilization” that is “bigger than any other mobilization we have seen since 9/11,” said Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the university’s program, said during an event releasing the report on Tuesday.
“It is not as big as some of the European countries that have been affected by the phenomenon,” he added. “But it is, in a historical sense, unprecedented.”