Radicalisation and violent extremism in national and local settings
Friday June 21, 14.30 - 16.00
Session 6, Auditorium 6, Eilert Sundt building
Chair: Bart Schuurman
- From extreme ideas to violence or non-violence: quantitative research into terrorist suspects in the Netherlands - Fabienne Thijs, Elanie Rodermond and Edward Kleemans
- The family background of extremists: shared risks, different pathways? - Elanie Rodermond
- Evolution of jihadism in Finland - Leena Malkki & Juha Saarinen
- FTF’s, radicalisation en delinquency. The case of a Dutch town - Rudie Neve
From extreme ideas to violence or non-violence: quantitative research into terrorist suspects in the Netherlands
Fabienne Thijs, Elanie Rodermond and Edward Kleemans, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) & Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR),
Among those with extreme ideas, some will use violence to pursue their extreme ideas while others do not. Due to the structural threat of extremism and the return and reintegration of foreign (Islamic) fighters, increased attention is being paid to the radicalization process of extremists. However, research into this process has primarily focused on pathways to violent extremism while neglecting extremists’ pathways to non-violence. Using register-data on all individuals suspected of a terrorist offense in the Netherlands between 2004-2018, we provide insight into demographic and socioeconomic background factors of both violent and non-violent individuals. Furthermore, we shed light on their criminal careers and possible trigger events leading up to their suspicion. Moreover, we compare the violent and non-violent terror suspects to general criminal suspects and the general population, and carry out analyses to examine the influence of these factors on the risk of becoming a terror suspect.
The family background of Dutch extremists: shared risks, different pathways?
Elanie Rodermond,Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam/Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), Karin Monster and Frank Weerman, Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)
In recent years, increased attention has been paid to individual background characteristics of (Islamic) extremists. Following acts of terrorism that involved members of the same family, the background characteristics of these families have been object of study as well. However, most of these studies have been hampered by a lack of empirical data, small sample sizes and non-representative samples. Following a life-course criminological perspective, the present study examines the family background of all individuals suspected of a terrorist offense in the Netherlands since 2004. We assess the socio-economic status of the families, as well as characteristics of individual family members (parents and brothers/sisters). Specifically, we examine the criminal careers of the family members and their employment and education histories. We will end with a discussion of both risk and protective factors that are present within these families and that can put members of the same family on different pathways.
Evolution of Jihadism in Finland
Leena Malkki and Juha Saarinen, University of Helsinki and Kings College London
During the 2010s, jihadism in Finland has undergone significant developments. While the country has almost no history of jihadist activism, over 80 people left from Finland to Syria and Iraq. According to Supo, the number of individuals participating in militant activism domestically has increased significantly, doubling from 200 and approximately 400 between 2014 and 2017. Finland has also experienced the emergence of informal extremist networks operating domestically to support jihadi groups operating abroad. Moreover, Finland has recently experienced its first ever jihadist terror attack in the forms of a knife attack by a Moroccan asylum-seeker, allegedly inspired by the Islamic State.
These recent developments, especially when set against the lack of history in jihadist activism provide an interesting puzzle. How can we explain this apparent escalation of jihadist activity in a country which has been and continues to be peripheral for jihadism in all respects? This paper presents the results of the first academic study on the jihadist networks and activism in Finland. Besides providing and overview of the key developments, it looks at how these developments can be explained – and how these explanations support and challenge the current theoretical understanding of the dynamics of jihadist activity in Europe.
FTF’s, radicalisation en delinquency. The case of a Dutch town.
Rudie Neve, National Police,Netherlands
Quantitative studies tell us that foreign terrorist fighters (FTF’s) are likely to come from deprived migrant neighbourhoods, are low educated and/or unemployed. Many have criminal records for facts like violent behaviour, shoplifting and burglary. However, this tells us not much about how radicalisation actually took place. Qualitative research is required in order to gain more insight in how the actual radicalisation proceeds in networks and what triggers a person to get involved. To this task, the present study aims to be a contribution.
Based on police records, documents and interviews, we performed a case study in a Dutch town from where early 2013, about twenty persons left for Syria to support jihadist organisations fighting the government. Three of them were women, and nearly all of them came from a deprived neighbourhood, where many people from migrant backgrounds live in crowded apartments build in the 1970s. Triggers that played a role in the radicalisation within a large delinquent network in the neighbourhood. Were identified. Personal relationships, also with radical women involved in the ‘sisters network’ contributed to overlaps of this local youth network with the jihadi network in the larger region.