Identity and Islamist Radicalisation: The Foreign Fighters of Europe
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
The current flow of foreign fighters to the conflict in Syria and Iraq is unprecedented in recent times, with numbers now exceeding those who travelled to fight in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Some estimates suggest that one fifth of the 30,000 recruits are from Europe, worse still, that the majority are fighting with the so-called Islamic State. The scale of this trend demands a deeper understanding of violent Islamist radicalisation in Europe which goes beyond the common and limited explanations of economics or religion. Utilising recent data on the number of foreign fighters travelling from each European country, this study considers how restrictive government legislation instigates a perceived incompatibility between the European and religious identities held by young second and third generation Muslims in Europe. Compounded with feelings of non-belonging which are exacerbated by societal discrimination, these individuals become particularly vulnerable to extremist narratives. As the first cross-national quantitative analysis of European foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria, the study finds that countries which have passed restrictive legislation exhibit higher rates of foreign fighters than those which have not, and that societal discrimination appears to have no effect on the rate of radicalisation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 63 p.
foreign fighters, radicalisation, identity, discrimination, Syria
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294501OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-294501DiVA: diva2:930113
Subject / course
Peace and Conflict Studies