Managing the Migrant Crisis
How Europe Pushes Migrants Onto Boats
The Return of No-Man’s Land
Europe's Asylum Crisis and Historical Memory
A Self-Interested Approach to Migration Crises
Push Factors, Pull Factors, and Investing In Refugees
The Elephant in the Room
Islam and the Crisis of Liberal Values in Europe
Jordan's Refugee Experiment
A New Model for Helping the Displaced
France on Fire
The Charlie Hebdo Attack and the Future of al Qaeda
Laïcité Without Égalité
Can France Be Multicultural?
Europe's Dangerous Multiculturalism
Why the Continent Fails Minority Groups
ISIS' Next Target
Terrorism After Brussels
The French Connection
Explaining Sunni Militancy Around the World
The French Disconnection
Francophone Countries and Radicalization
The Myth of Lone-Wolf Terrorism
The Attacks in Europe and Digital Extremism
Keeping Europe Safe
Counterterrorism for the Continent
The Continent's Leader Needs Intelligence Reform
British Counterterrorism Policy After Westminster
London Can Do More to Prevent Radicalization
Europe’s Populist Surge
A Long Time in the Making
Merkel's Last Stand
Letter from Berlin
There Is No Alternative
Why Germany’s Right-Wing Populists Are Losing Steam
The Schulz Effect Faces Its First Test
Will Reviving Germany's Social Democrats Be Enough to Unseat Merkel?
The Future of Dutch Democracy
What the Election Revealed About the Establishment—and Its Challengers
The Right Way to Leave the EU
Pulling the Trigger on Brexit
And Passing the Point of No Return
Theresa May's Gamble
Why Britain's Snap Election Will Do Little to Ease Brexit
France’s Next Revolution?
A Conversation With Marine Le Pen
Europe in Russia's Digital Cross Hairs
What’s Next for France and Germany—and How to Deal With It
Why French Voters Rejected Le Pen
Austria's Populist Puzzle
Why One of Europe's Most Stable States Hosts a Thriving Radical Right
Europe's Hungary Problem
Viktor Orban Flouts the Union
Europe's Autocracy Problem
Polish Democracy's Final Days?
What is it that draws thousands of young Europeans to jihadism and violence? What is it that has led 4,000 to travel to Syria to fight for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS)? And what is it that leads European citizens to engage in barbarous carnage such as those witnessed last month in Paris?
The conventional answer is that they have become “radicalized,” a process through which vulnerable Muslims are groomed for extremist violence by those who champion hate. The radicalization argument consists of four broad elements. The first is the claim that people become terrorists because they acquire certain, usually religiously informed, extremist ideas. The second is that these ideas are acquired in a different way from that in which people acquire other extremist or oppositional ideas. The third is that there is a conveyor belt that leads from grievance to religiosity to the adoption of radical beliefs to terrorism. And the fourth is the insistence that what makes people vulnerable to acquiring such ideas is that they are poorly integrated into society.
The trouble is that these assumptions, which underlie much of Europe’s domestic counterterrorism policy, are wrong.
Many studies show, for instance, that those who are drawn to jihadist groups are not necessarily attracted by fundamentalist religious ideas. A 2008 study by Britain’s MI5 on extremism that was leaked to the press observed that “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practice their faith regularly.”
There is also little evidence that jihadists acquire their ideas differently from other kinds of groups, even though conventional wisdom suggests that their ideology comes from hate preachers and the like, whereas other radical ideas are born of different circumstances. Jamie Bartlett, head of the Violence and Extremism program at the British think tank Demos, argues that such terrorism “shares much in common with other counter-cultural, subversive groups of predominantly angry young men.”
Nor is there any evidence of a straight path leading people from radical
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