Why Are More Latinos Converting to Radical Islam?

Antonio Martinez is the latest troubling case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2010 7:31 AM CST
Jose Padilla is shown in this undated file photo.   (AP Photo/NBC News, File)

(Newser) – The FBI's arrest of alleged would-be terrorist Antonio Martinez highlights a growing concern among US officials: Why are more Latinos converting to radical Islam? The question is especially important because Latino converts are being radicalized in the US—and al-Qaeda appears to be specifically recruiting them, because they can move around the country without suspicion, NPR reports.

Martinez isn't the first. Jose Padilla trained with al-Qaeda, Daniel Maldonado joined an al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, Bryant Neal Vinas found himself in al-Qaeda's inner circle, and Carlos Almonte was arrested as he allegedly planned to join another terrorist group in Somalia. Some are radicalized via the Internet, but a growing number convert while in prison. Says one expert, "I think that it is in that intersection with prison radicalization, gang culture, religious zealotry that you have a potential problem." Click for more on Antonio Martinez.

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