At risk for radicalization and jihadism? A population-based study of Norwegian adolescents
Willy Pedersen, Viggo Jan Vestel and Anders Bakken have published an article regarding attitudes among ordinary adolescents in favour of the use of political violence and radicalization in Sage Journals.
Little is known about attitudes among ordinary adolescents in favour of the use of political violence and radicalization. We draw on a survey from a population sample of adolescents (n = 8627) in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. We first compared adolescents with Muslim, Christian and no religious affiliation with regard to attitudes in favour of the use of violence for political purposes and support of those who go to Syria to take part in active combat. Muslim youth reported higher levels of support for the use of violence to obtain societal change than did other adolescents. The same pattern was revealed with regard to support for the fighters in Syria. After control for other variables, Muslim affiliation had no impact on attitudes in favour of politically motivated violence, though it remained significant for support for the fighters in Syria. However, here as well we found associations with poor school grades, conduct problems and exposure to violence, possibly indicating an emerging adolescent ‘outsider’ position. Political activity on social media also played a role. Such attitudes rarely develop into politically motivated violence and jihadism. However, for a small minority, they may represent the first step in that direction.