A photographer takes a picture of a wanted poster

Identifying terrorists before they strike is an inexact science.

Obstacles to Profiling

January 2013, Number 04.01

“Rahman and Lamine Adam are two British brothers of Algerian parentage who spent their teen years immersed in an ultra-orthodox mosque in London. Rahman, less political and vociferous than his brother, reportedly enjoyed soccer, smoking and dating, while Lamine adopted the guise of a political firebrand and committed radical. Nevertheless, it was Rahman Adam whom British police arrested in connection with a terrorist plot and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2007. A series of raids known as Operation Crevice implicated Adam in a conspiracy to explode fertilizer bombs to kill civilians in nightclubs, a shopping center and synagogues.

Some academics who followed the case have recounted the story to illustrate how two closely related individuals steeped in the same radical environment could turn out differently. “Conventional wisdom fails to explain how one brother became a terrorist and the other did not,” wrote Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert Lambert in a 2010 International Affairs article. “If identity issues and exposure to ‘extremist’ ideas are causal factors in the one case, why wasn’t this combination equally causal for both brothers?” But deeper analysis revealed more to the story...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “Obstacles to Profiling,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 4, No. 1, 2013: 24-27.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.