"I'm willing to accept the possibility that this has a lot more to do with the Crips and the Bloods than it does with the Koran and the Hadith," he added.
Every postindustrial society has this challenge of alienation, Hayden later told reporters. The best solution comes from recruiting community leaders to eliminate the "magnets" that draw at-risk young men toward a radical ideology, he said.
Simcox warned against the federal government becoming too involved.
"It would be interesting to know as American counter-terrorism and counter-radicalization policy develops, to what extent America as a state is willing to take on the ideological," he said. "You have to defeat the ideology. I'm just not sure that the government is the right place to do it."