T he destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, remains the most heinous terrorist attack of our era. The seeds of that atrocity were planted 73 year earlier, when Hasan al-Banna, a 22-year-old Egyptian school teacher, founded the Muslim Brotherhood. His goal was to reestablish the Muslim caliphate that collapsed in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

Call them the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, or ISIS. The formula for all these terror groups is the same, each one following a multistep process designed to restore the caliphate, says Dr. Eitan Azani, deputy executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya.

The formula is: Emigrate to new lands. Establish congregations. Destabilize the new homeland. Consolidate forces. Reinstate the caliphate.

While this hasn’t come to fruition yet anywhere in the world, terror groups are avidly recruiting jihadists who will work toward those goals, says Dr. Boaz Ganor, the ICT’s executive director. “They have a strategy and money, and they are buying hearts and minds,” says Dr. Ganor.

While 9/11 was orchestrated by multiple terror cells operating in several countries, many of today’s terrorists are lone wolves, motivated by guidance they find online.

The good news, says Ganor, is that these lone wolves no longer stymie intelligence agencies, since they advertise their intentions on the social media and don’t cover their tracks. “They believe they are doing something honorable for their cause, so they publish their intentions,” Ganor says.

Ganor and Azani shared their considerable knowledge with the foreign press at a news conference in advance of 9/11, mapping out their recommendations to fight the scourge.

Those include government pressure on social media giants to remove terrorist content from their platforms and pressuring them to cooperate with intelligence organizations. Azani recommends class-action lawsuits against social media to force their hands. “If pushed into a legal corner because they were part of the chain that enabled ISIS to disseminate propaganda, they would find the tools to clamp down on it.”

Both Ganor and Azani say governments and civil society groups should quietly encourage Muslim moderates to intervene in their own communities to help reverse the radicalization processes that spawn terror.

Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian who turned pro-Israel after an Israeli hospital healed her mother from injuries sustained in Lebanon’s civil war, would probably tell them that’s a waste of time. Gabriel, whom Mishpacha has profiled twice over the years, told a gathering at the Heritage Foundation in 2014 that even assuming most Muslims are peaceful, radicals drive the agenda, much as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao drove their genocidal dreams. “The peaceful majority was irrelevant,” Gabriel said.

Last year, in Vienna, I interviewed Ramazan Demir, an imam, chaplain, and social worker by profession. The Austrian government employs him to deprogram jailed Muslim radicals. He admitted he’s batting close to zero.

Last fall, the Middle East Quarterly reviewed three de-radicalization programs in Britain and Germany. The journal concluded that none have the potential to significantly reduce terror, and some may even prove counterproductive. The report’s co-author, Uriya Shavit, an associate professor of Islamic studies at Tel Aviv University, contends there is no substitute for tight security in public places in the war on terror. Israel’s experience proves that the extra costs to society — monetarily, and in the loss of personal privacy — are meager compared to the positive psychological effect on the public’s sense of security.

Sixteen years after 9/11, and 89 years after the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood, the war on terror will be won by persistence and resilience. And it will be lost by wishful thinking. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 677)