“He has nothing to say” – Jesse Morton’s Bin Ladin Dream

Yesterday’s New York Times story about Jesse Morton contains a small tidbit of interest to the Bored Jihadi, namely, another example of a dream reinforcing a deradicalization process. We saw this before in the case of Mubin Shaikh. Here’s what the NYT story says about Morton’s thought process:

The Americans came for him on Oct. 27, 2011. He recounted being driven to a deserted airport, where he clutched his Quran as a team of United States agents handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded him. Before placing earphones over his ears, they took away his Quran.

He was surprised when one of the agents removed the blindfold midflight and handed him back the holy book. It was the first of several gestures that he said would touch him, a step along what he described as a long, gradual path out of radicalization.

Back in the United States, he awaited sentencing in solitary confinement, where a guard broke the rules and allowed him to leave his cell and spend the duration of her shift in the library.

He said the first book he had grabbed was Volume 35 of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World. Over the coming weeks, he lost himself in the writings of the Enlightenment, starting with John Locke’s 1689 “Letter Concerning Toleration.” The philosopher argued that faith could not be bought through violence, prompting Mr. Morton to reflect on how his captors had handed him back his Quran.

At night, he said, he would dream he was sitting across from Bin Laden. “I’m asking him questions: ‘Am I becoming a disbeliever? Am I going to hell?’” Mr. Morton said. “He doesn’t talk. He has nothing to say.”

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