Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Grace Telesco

Committee Member

Tina Jaeckle

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro




This autoethnographic qualitative study details the researcher’s interest in the world of Islamic terrorism, which stemmed from the 2007 disappearance of a colleague in Iran, while on a rogue CIA mission. From the literature review, four basic themes emerged, which were applied to five case studies. One of the first scholarly articles encountered, speculated that the lack of empirical research and evidence in Islamic terrorism studies, may be caused by conceptual and methodological difficulties and pointed out that social phenomenon such as radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration are hard to conceptualize and measure. Also, there is no consensus regarding the causes of radicalization. This study attempted to resolve those difficulties by examining the culture of a particular group or subset of radicalized Islamic converts, using two Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE’s) as participants. What emerged, from the manual qualitative narrative data analysis, was a Themes, Subthemes and Codes Table. The recurring issue of a lack of HUMINT on the part of U. S. intelligence agencies was addressed; personal narratives of the three participants were provided; a decades-old assassination cover-up was disclosed in both narrative and diagram forms and the study ends with conclusion and recommendation from the researcher and scholars. Hopefully the study’s findings and recommendations will provide policy makers and law enforcement officials with a better understanding of the national security threat posed by Islamic terrorism.

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