Jihadist Hotbeds – Understanding Local Radicalisation Processes

European Foundation for Democracy | ISPI, Milan (Italy) |

The day after the third major attack in France over the last two years, it is even more urgent to investigate the root causes of radicalisation. Recent analyses reveal that the vast majority of jihadists come from or have some connections with specific areas. They can be labelled as local/regional “hotbeds” of extremism.

Molenbeek (Belgium), Gornje Maoče (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Minneapolis (US), Kasserine (Tunisia), Sirte (Libya), Sinai (Egypt), Dagestan (Caucasus): each area has unique drivers leading to radicalization, the “export” of fighters or creation of new IS–controlled zones.

Building upon the current debate on the origin and nature of jihadist militancy, “Jihadist Hotbeds – Understanding Local Radicalisation processes” outlines a broad spectrum of radicalisation factors contributing to the emergence of jihadist hotbeds, primarily the role of Salafist ideology as well as the influence of brotherhood networks. Other factors that can play a role include trafficking and smuggling, socio–political, economic and physical marginalisation.

Introduction, Paolo Magri
Regional Hotbeds as Drivers of Radicalization, Ali Soufan and Daniel Schoenfeld
ISIS and al–Shabaab in Minnesota’s Twin Cities: The American HotbedLorenzo Vidino, Seth Harrison and Clarissa Spada
Molenbeek and Beyond. The Brussels–Antwerp Axis as Hotbed of Belgian JihadGuy Van Vlierden
Hotbeds of Extremism: The UK Experience?, Douglas Weeks
Beyond Gornje Maoče and Osve: Radicalization in the Western Balkans, Florian Qehaja
The Libyan Radicalization Hotbeds: Derna and Sirte as Case Studies, Arturo Varvelli
Multiple Layers of Marginalization as a Paradigm of Tunisian Hotbeds of JihadismValentina Colombo
Insurgency or Terrorism? A New Front in Sinai, Giuseppe Dentice
Revived Hotbeds in the Caucasus: Pankisi Valley and Dagestan, Mairbek Vatchagaev
Conclusions, Paolo Maggiolini and Arturo Varvelli

About European Foundation for Democracy

The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) is a Brussels and Berlin-based policy institute that has been working with civil society, academic, governmental and other stakeholders on the prevention of radicalisation for more than a decade. Through our work with these organisations and groups, EFD’s goal is to ensure that the universal values of the Enlightenment – political pluralism, respect for individual rights, government by democracy – remain the founding precepts of European security and prosperity.

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