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US jihadists fail to build significant networks, act alone

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
4th November 2017 - Quoted by Paul Handley - Agence France Presse

Sayfullo Saipov, the radicalized Uzbek who mowed down eight people on a New York bike path, apparently developed his plot in relative isolation, like most other jihadist attackers in the United States.

But in Europe many have had community support, an underground network, or even a hardline Islamist to guide them, as in the twin attacks in Spain in August.


According to Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, heavier prison sentences in terror cases in the US makes a difference.

US sentences are 15-20 years, compared to four to seven years in Europe, which releases terror convicts back into the community much more quickly. That helps sustain dangerous Islamist cells, he said.

That is not to say the United States has not had its own cells or ringleaders, Gartenstein-Ross notes.


While neither side talks about it much, US Muslim communities have been more willing to report possible threats to law enforcement than in Europe. That was helped by outreach programs under president Barack Obama, according to Gartenstein-Ross.


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