Since the September 11 attacks, terrorism prevention has taken center stage in American security policy. It is imperative that both the government and the populous have the tools to counter such attacks in the future, and it is for this reason that so many resources have been put to this front in recent years. From the perspective of theUnited States, domestic terrorism is of particular concern because it is more controllable than foreign terrorism. In this paper this problem will be explored with two specific constraints. First, radical Islam will be the cornerstone because of its prevalence in terrorism cases. Ties between radicalized Islamists and the terror that has plagued Americans will be revealed as comprehensively as possible. Second, the geographical avenue will be Illinois, a large state with a similarly large Muslim population. The ultimate aim will be to show how local groups and Muslim communities produce and have the potential to produce radicalized individuals.
The paper’s first section will chronicle the background of Muslims inIllinois, including a history, current profile, and case studies of selected communities with established ties to terrorism. The second section will detail organizations inIllinoiswith ties to terrorism and their domestic and international connections and influences. The third section will present a model of homegrown radicalization. The fourth section will describe a number of terrorist cases, some of which describe domestic radicalization and thus can be aligned with the aforementioned model, others which are tied to the organizations with radical agendas, and still others that have little domestic influence yet still occur on American soil (within Illinois). The fifth section will detail the reaction of radical Islam of the local and federal governments. The paper will conclude by tying together the findings of this research.