Friday, November 10, 2017

The educational background of American homegrown terrorists

"For decades, we've heard opponents of school choice claim that the government school monopoly is our only protection against 'jihad schools' that will teach children to hate and kill," Greg Forster wrote last year. "In all that time, you know what we haven't seen? Jihad schools, operating in any of the nation's 59 private school choice programs across 28 states."

Indeed, what if it turns out that most terrorists actually attended traditional public schools? In a new EDRE working paper ("Does Private Islamic Schooling Promote Terrorism? An Analysis of the Educational Background of Successful American Homegrown Terrorists"), M. Danish Shakeel and Patrick J. Wolf write:
Some commentators argue that private religious schools are less likely to inculcate the attributes of good citizenship than traditional public schools, specifically proposing that private Islamic schools are relatively more likely to produce individuals sympathetic to terrorism. This study offers a preliminary examination of the question by studying the educational backgrounds of Western-educated terrorists. While data are limited, in accord with prior work findings indicate the vast majority of both Islamic and reactionary terrorists attended traditional public schools and had no religious education; hence findings suggest that early religious training and identification may actually encourage prosocial behavior.

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