Johann Hari in Huffington Post, a piece about identity formation among young British Muslims. Note that jihad forms identity for them in some of the same ways that Israel forms identity for American Jews. Boldface mine:
A wave of young British Islamists who trained to fight – who cheered as their friends bombed this country – have recanted. Now they are using everything they learned on the inside, to stop the jihad. Seventeen former radical Islamists have "come out" in the past 12 months and have begun to fight back. Would they be able to tell me the reasons that pulled them into jihadism, and out again? Could they be the key to understanding – and defusing – Western jihadism?…
Every one of them said the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 – from Guantanamo to Iraq – made jihadism seem more like an accurate description of the world. Hadiya Masieh, a tiny female former HT [Hizb ut-Tahrir, British group] organiser, tells me: "You’d see Bush on the television building torture camps and bombing Muslims and you think – anything is justified to stop this. What are we meant to do, just stand still and let him cut our throats?"
But the converse was – they stressed – also true. When they saw ordinary Westerners trying to uphold human rights, their jihadism began to stutter. Almost all of them said that they doubted their Islamism when they saw a million non-Muslims march in London to oppose the Iraq War: "How could we demonise people who obviously opposed aggression against Muslims?" asks Hadiya.