According to Pregulman and Burke (2012), the prevalence of homegrown terrorism has been on the rise since the 9/11 attack. The terrorist activities are perpetrated by US citizens- Muslims and others- who are trained and inspired by the Al-Qaeda. Nowadays, several factors inspire the extremists globally. However, it is essential to realize that there is no general or universally accepted theory that expounds on the cause of homegrown or violent extremism. Some of the factors promoting extremism are as follows:
The modern information and communication technology
The swift adoption of advanced communication apparatus has played a great role in the organization, growth, and accomplishment of terrorist groups. The terrorist networks use the modern technology in many ways, including radicalization, sourcing for funds, recruitments, distributing threats, instigating violence, and organizing attacks. Through the technology, the terrorist groups can reach individuals interested in joining their networks from around the world, and promote homegrown terrorism in various countries including the US (Counter Extremist Project, 2016).
The terrorist groups have many intermediaries from around the world, and through networking, they can promote homegrown extremism in various nations including the United States. Networking increases the exposure of the intermediaries to AQAM, in addition to reaching and radicalizing potential terrorists who help in furthering homegrown extremism (Pregulman & Burke, 2012).
The alleged war between the Islam and West/United States
The activities of the US military in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other warring Islamic nations have made a section of the Islamic community to think that the US is at war with the community. The homegrown extremists, therefore, claim that they are trying to protect the Muslims from the aggressions of the US and other countries from the West (Pregulman & Burke, 2012).
High poverty levels
In some cases, especially in the less developed nations, individuals may result in terrorism due to poverty. This move may as well promote homegrown terrorism in the nations (BIC, 2017).
The gender aspect
Gender inequality also promotes homegrown extremism in some way. For instance, discrimination and gender violence can make females to join terrorism. Likewise, social gender responsibilities and societal expectations can make men engage in terrorist activities (BIC, 2017).
Factors that can mitigate Homegrown Terrorism
According to Padilla (2015), the key to lowering the risk of homegrown extremism is integration. That is, the US and other nations should enhance the integration of the Muslim immigrants, and not continue to isolate them. The US, therefore, needs to redefine the meaning of being an American to incorporate even the minority cultures such as the Islam. The US and Western nations also show interest and appreciate other cultures and religious traditions rather than fearing them. Padilla (2015) further says that terrorists are normally looking for something that will add meaning to their lives. When they lose a feeling of personal significance, for instance, through humiliation and disrespect, they resort to terrorism to add meaning to their lives. Other ways of combating homegrown terrorism include: finding ways to end gender violence, and enacting relevant laws to fight terrorism.