The Jihadi Next Door

What turns a law-abiding young man into a terrorist? A forensic psychiatrist offers answers


Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the alleged mastermind behind Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's abduction, arrives on March 29, 2002 at the provincial high court in Karachi, Pakistan..

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was the kind of guy you could have taken home to Mom. Smart and friendly, he once jumped in front of a train in a London tube station to rescue a fallen commuter. But he also, in the name of the Islamist cause, gleefully threatened a hostage with decapitation in 1994. That hostage survived, but Danny Pearl, the Wall Street Journal Pakistan correspondent whom Sheikh is charged with kidnapping in January 2002, did not. The video of Pearl's beheading can still be found on the Internet (though the identity of the actual knife wielder remains unknown). How...

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