In recent years, an industry has arisen of 'experts' who claim that, by
considering the facts of one's family background and other circumstances,
they can predict with a high degree of confidence the likelihood of a
young Muslim becoming 'radicalized' in a Western society.
Regarding the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon, much was made of
Tamerlan Tsarnaev (who was killed) 'radicalizing' his younger brother Dzokhar.
But consider Belgium's Laachraoui brothers. Najim (the older) became
a suicide bomber at Brussels's airport. Mourad Laachraoui recently won
a European championship in Taekwondo and will represent Belgium at the Olympics.
When some people have called for him to be punished on account of his
brother's crime, Mourad Laachraoui replied that he cannot choose his relatives.
When India and Pakistan arose as the British Raj came to an end, an
Indian Muslim family was divided as well. Two Muslim brothers were
career officers in the Indian Army. One brother chose to stay; the other
chose to join the new army of Pakistan. At that time, they never expected
to face each other on the battlefield. Within a few months, however,
they were ordered to take command of units fighting each other in Kashmir.
The story of the Laachraoui brothers might not surprise people who
are familiar with the story of the Breytenbach brothers in South Africa.
Jan Breytenbach, a right-wing Afrikaner nationalist, supported apartheid
and became the ruthless leader of an elite commando unit. Breyten Breytenbach opposed apartheid, married an ethnic Vietnamese woman
in Paris (his marriage was illegal under apartheid), and was convicted
of 'high treason' and imprisoned by the apartheid regime.
My point is that siblings may grow up in the same family under similar
circumstances and develop very different ideological beliefs. Indeed,
civil wars are often said to be conflicts of 'brother against brother'.