Anyway, the reason I mention The Graduate, 40 something-year-old movie, is that I wondered what Ben Braddock might have gotten up to had his name been, say, Asad Ansari? One of the last of the Toronto 18, the group of ambitious jihadi laddies with a grandiose dream to unleash havoc in the true north, Ansari, like Ben, found himself at loose ends after college, lost, confused and depressed. But because he was neither WASP, not Jewish, but Muslim, let's just say he had other options available to him, as the Ceeb reports:
...In court, Ansari described himself at the time of al-Qaeda's Sept. 11 attacks against the United States as a typical young Muslim man, suddenly having to look for answers.Poor guy. Like Benjamin, he probably should have gone into plastics--the non-explosive kind, that is--after all. On the other hand, think of how differently the Hoffman flick would have turned out had Ben "reverted," come under the influence of a radical imam and gone searching for his own personal harem of 72 heavenly Elaines.
On the one hand, Ansari testified, he saw himself as a Canadian who believed in democracy and also believed that the Muslim world could learn a lot from the West.
On the other hand, he said, after Sept. 11 there was a palpable feeling among Muslims the world over that Western societies viewed all Muslims with suspicion. He said he and other young men like him suddenly began to question where they fit into the world.
At one point, after his banker fathered revealed he could not afford to send Ansari to university because he had lost a lot of the family's money in bad investments, Ansari testified that he seriously considered suicide.
In draft suicide notes to his mother, father and younger sister, he made references to "dying for the sake of Allah."
One of the options he considered but quickly discarded was volunteering to fight with the Islamist insurgency in Iraq, he told the court.
Ansari also testified he considered non-political options such as drowning or hanging himself.
Even after leaving thoughts of suicide behind, Ansari said, with his dream of earning a degree in computer science at Waterloo University shattered, he went into a long depression and felt like "a loser."...