Series: Refugees and Radicalization

To find all the installments of this series on refugees and radicalization, visit these links. Who is at risk of radicalization? What causes radicalization? How does radicalization happen? How can we prevent radicalization? Since the Paris attacks of November 2015 and the more recent Brussels attacks last month, there has been a lot of buzz about refugees and radicalization. As the term is being used here, radicalization is a process by which individuals (or groups) adopt increasingly extreme views and ideals, whether political, social, or religious. In this case, those extreme views would be the violent ideology and theology of fundamental Islam. Radical, radicalize, and radicalization are not inherently negative terms, but in the past years they have grown increasingly associated with the terrorism perpetuated by fundamental Muslims. Because of this connotation the term radicalization is now almost exclusively used to describe the conversion of moderate Muslims into fundamentalist ones.

The Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek is a known hotbed of this radicalization in Europe, and most of the Paris and Brussels terrorists were from there. Young Muslim men there are targeted as recruits for terrorist organizations like Daesh (also known as ISIS) and are inundated with jihadist ideologies. This known origin of the Europe attackers has bred a widespread fear in the west that moderate Muslim refugees who are resettled in our countries may also be radicalized. Such fear is not wholly illegitimate, so it is important to understand the process of radicalization, how and why it happens, and how big of a risk refugee radicalization actually is.

This month, we will answer the following questions about refugees and radicalization.

  • Who is at risk of undergoing radicalization?
  • What factors contribute to one's risk of undergoing radicalization?
  • How does radicalization happen?
  • What can/should be done to prevent radicalization?

Image Source: Wikipedia