The PJ Tatler

Kerry: Jihadists Just Need More 'Economic Opportunities'

Secretary of State John Kerry wants to give more money to (potential) terrorists.

Launching a new global counter-terror fund, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of the importance of “providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment” – although much research has debunked the notion of a link between poverty and Islamist terrorism.

At a meeting in New York Friday of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Kerry and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu unveiled a $200 million initiative designed to leverage public and private funding in support of what the GCTF calls “countering violent extremism” (CVE) efforts.

It has long been a trope of liberal ideology that terrorism, like other forms of violence and crime, has its roots in economic underprivilege and poverty. Study after study have shown that not to be true. Jihadists tend to come from middle to upper class families, and they tend to be educated. To take but two prominent examples, neither the current nor deceased heads of al Qaeda were poor. Ayman al-Zawahiri was a doctor in Egypt before joining up with the Muslim Brotherhood and later al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden was the scion of a mega-rich Saudi family.

If poverty and underprivilege explained jihadism, then why didn’t attaining power in Egypt turn the Muslim Brotherhood into peaceful bankers instead of Islamist wankers?