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Tracing shift from everyday American to jihadis

A college dropout from Florida.

A nurse’s aide from Denver.

The owner of a pizza-and-wings joint from upstate New York.

Except for their embrace of Islam, there’s no common profile for the 100-plus Americans who have traveled to Syria to join Islamic fighters or are accused of supporting them from the United States.

Some seek adventure and camaraderie. Others feel a call to fight perceived injustice.

But a shared strain of disaffection, a search for meaning, seems to emerge, at times stronger than any motivation tied to religious devotion.

U.S. officials are putting new energy into trying to understand what radicalizes people far removed from the fight, and into trying to prod countries to do a better job of keeping them from joining up.

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