The arrest of five Americans Muslims is being interpreted as a US development in home-grown Islamic extremism.
The arrest in Sargodha, Pakistan, of five terrorist suspects carrying authentic American passports is being interpreted as an indication that U.S. Muslims are succumbing to what hitherto had been regarded as an almost exclusively British phenomenon of home-grown Islamic extremism.
The five young men consist of three with Pakistani origins, one of Yemeni heritage, and a fifth who was of Egyptian parentage. All had been living in Washington, D.C. and were reported missing at he end of November by their families. Now they have turned up in the Punjab, detained at the home of a known extremist with links to a banned organization, Jaish-e-Mohammed.
What were the students doing there, and have they been radicalized? An eleven-minute video recorded by one of the missing men before he vanished appears strongly reminiscent of the so-called martyrdom tapes prepared by terrorists and then released after their deaths, often in a suicide attack.
Until recently the evidence from within the Arab-American community suggested that the émigrés remained loyal to their adopted country, and cases of home-grown radicals have been limited to a few oddballs. These five will be studied carefully by the FBI to determine their motives and intentions in the hope they did not plan to participate in a terrorist incident.