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In Their Own WordsUnderstanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba$
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C. Christine Fair

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190909482

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190909482.001.0001

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Who are the Soldiers in the Army of the Pure?

Who are the Soldiers in the Army of the Pure?

(p.111) 5 Who are the Soldiers in the Army of the Pure?
In Their Own Words

C. Christine Fair

Oxford University Press

Generally, writers on terrorism, particularly Islamist groups, frequently adduce that terrorists are poor, uneducated, and/or come from criminal backgrounds. Speaking of Islamist militants, writers have long argued that madaris are responsible for producing scores of Muslims ready to kill and die for their faith. Various governmental efforts to counter violent extremism (aka "CVE") tend to focus upon men of military age and often subsume many of the aforenoted assumptions about the deprived backgrounds of persons who join militant groups. Many of these ostensible insights are gleaned from anecdotal accounts of captured or killed militants. Fortunately, for understanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, we have a very rich source of data that allows us to glean considerable detail about the persons who fight, and ultimately die, for LeT, namely: the hundreds of biographies of slain LeT militants that are widely available in several LeT publications. This chapter provides quantitative and qualitative insights from 918 posthumous biographies of LeT militants, whom LeT calls shaheed (martyrs), assembled and analyzed by a team I oversaw at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. These data reveal that families are incredibly important in encouraging their sons to join the organization and ultimately to fight and die in its service.

Keywords:   Militant recruitment, Countering Violent Extremism, Role of families in militant recruitment, Biographies, Madaris

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