Randall Rogan, an internationally recognized expert in international and domestic terrorism, is available to discuss the terrorist attacks in France. Rogan has worked with the FBI and was a member of the team of analysts that helped identify the Unabomber. A communication professor at Wake Forest University, he spoke last summer at the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism in Israel on the topic of individual engagement in violent extremism.
On the Paris attacks: “We have need to finally name this as Salafist Islamist/jihadism in which the motive is to create a global Islamic theocracy that denies pluralism and shared/mutual respect for other belief systems and which defines democracy as antithetical to the Islamists/jihadist ideology. This is a war to them. The acts they are perpetrating fall into a general category we would label as terroristic, but they’re acts of war.”
Success of ISIS: “They are doing an incredible job of recruiting individuals to join in their fight and the level of indoctrination of children is widespread, not just in the Middle East, but in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and in the United Kingdom where a proliferation of fundamentalist Islamists have overtaken some public schools and are advocating hate and disdain for British culture and democracy.”
Understanding why: “The motivation for individuals to engage in violent, extremist acts, whether serial killers, the Unabomber, or school shooters, for instance, is grounded in a core need for human beings to have a purpose and meaning in life, to be of cosmic specialness. The need to be somebody, to realize immortality, drives some to extreme measures and acts. ISIS and jihadists provide both symbolic and literal immortality. Acting on behalf of religion and God is the pinnacle mechanism for achieving these goals. The jihadists simply pursue their quest by killing and oppressing those who do not believe the same as them.”
Rogan has taught several related courses, including “Communication, Terrorism and Hostage Negotiation.” His commentary has appeared in the BBC, Bloomberg, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle and many other media outlets around the world.