Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.C.J. in Criminal Justice

First Advisor

David McElreath

Second Advisor

Robert Mongue

Third Advisor

Carl Jensen

Relational Format



Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has been awakened to the threat that extremist organizations pose to our national security. The greatest transnational terrorist threat to the United States right now comes primarily from extremist groups such as Al-Queda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. These extremist groups are fueled by the desire to influence political, religious, and/or ideological causes. The political "end-state" or objective of the extremist is to overthrow "heretic" governments which currently exist and replace them with Islamic governments based on the rule of the Shariah (the first book of the Quran which strongly regulates all aspects of life). (Swanson, Territo, & Taylor, 2007, p. 87-89). The purpose of this thesis is to conduct a qualitative analysis of the sources of extremism from two different perspectives (United States government and local Muslims), determine if The National Intelligence Estimate 2007 properly identifies the sources of extremism, and make recommendations on how to counter the sources of extremism/radicalization and improve security and counterterrorism strategy. The research questions which will guide this study include: What are the primary sources of Islamic Extremism; what do the prominent authors in this field of study identify as sources of extremism; what do the National Intelligence Estimate 2007 and other US government documents identify as the sources of Islamic extremism; and what does the local Muslim population identify as the sources/causes of extremism?

Included in

Criminology Commons



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