This quote from the user of the YouTube account called Tamerlan Tsarnaev seems important to me:
You are not a grand Michael but the same Misha that you were before Islam. You accepted Shiism not because it convinces you, but because of the fears, and interests (about which Allah knows) which you’ve followed. Just like you entered into Islam, so to you flew out of it. You betrayed yourself, Misha. Well anyways…farewell.
This is the mark of fundamentalist religious fanaticism. Notice the total abandonment to God and the contempt for the moderate forms of religion. Serwer homes in here:
The YouTube page includes religious videos, including one of Feiz Mohammad, a fundamentalist Australian Muslim preacher who rails against the evils of Harry Potter. One playlist includes a video dedicated to the prophecy of the Black Banners of Khurasan, which is embraced by Islamic extremists—particularly Al Qaeda. The prophecy states that an invincible army will come from the region of Khurasan in central Asia.
“This is a major hadith (reported saying of the prophet Muhammad) that jihadis use, it is essentially an end-time prophecy,” says Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy “This is definitely important in Al Qaeda’s ideology.” In The Black Banners, the book by former FBI agent Ali Soufan that is named after this prophecy, Soufan describes the prophecy this way:
Khurasan is a term for a historical region spanning northeastern and eastern Iran and parts of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and northwestern Pakistan. Because of the hadith, jihadists believe that this is the region from which they will inflict a major defeat against their enemies—in the Islamic version of Armageddon.
In many ways, this is enough to explain a huge amount. Why does someone do something like hold up a 7-11? What’s the point of all this? America has not occupied Chechnya. Chechnyan terrorists have targeted Russia in the past almost exclusively. The point of this is that you can be liberated into violence by the Apocalypse.
A little lost in modernity; finding meaning in the most extreme forms of religion; in many ways assimilated by the West but finding new ways to feel deeply, internally alienated by it: this is a classic profile of an Internet Jihadist. And there is nothing traditional about this religion. It’s hyper-modern, spread online and combustible with any other personal dramas.
And if you think you are enacting God’s will at the end of the world, why not go out with guns and bombs blazing?