Europe’s Foreign Fighters: Why they left & why they are coming back

European Foundation for Democracy | Brussels |

On 1 March 2017, the European Foundation for Democracy, in cooperation with the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), hosted a policy briefing entitled: “Europe’s Foreign Fighters: Why they left &  why they are coming back”. Throughout the discussion, experts commented on the European homegrown jihadist phenomenon, analyzing what drives some individuals to leave to Syria and Iraq, and especially focusing on the role of the Belgian fighters.

Guest speakers included: Bart Schuurman, researcher at Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs: Pieter Van Ostaeyen, Visiting Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy and Researcher; Alexander Ritzmann, Executive Director of the European Foundation for Democracy; and Dr. Demir Murat Seyrek, Senior Policy Advisor at the European Foundation for Democracy (Moderator).

The event comprised a significant number of practitioners, officials and policy-makers, with approximately 40 people attending.

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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