Reasons why the young reject violent extremism

Factors perquè els joves rebutgin l'extremisme violent

Studies of violent radicalisation have increased over recent years, especially those linked to the increase in terrorist activity. Researchers from the RAND Corporation have carried out a study which, rather than look into factors which influence this process of radicalisation, has focused on reasons why violent extremism is rejected.

The authors have centred their research on the West Bank and, basing their standpoint on theories which lead to the rejection of violence, have carried out research with a combination of qualitative and quantitave information. Ten semi-structured interviews were also done with politicians linked to Hamas (4), Fatah (4) and with no affiliation (2). Moreover, a further 600 questionnaires involved young Palestinians between 18 and 30 years old (done personally and in the respondents’ homes).

The main conclusions are the following:

  • Rejection of violent extremism, as far as the residents of the West Bank are concerned, is a process involving multiple phases and multiple choices during each phase.
  • Family plays a more important role than friends when attitudes towards non-violence are being developed.
  • Demographic factors do not have an important impact on non-violence.
  • Opposing violence in theory is different from choosing not to get involved in violent acts.

Consequently, the authors recommend that policies aimed at fighting against radicalisation should focus on the family and not on friends, and that authorities should trust non-violent forms of activism, and that future research into radicalisation should also be careful not to equate support for political violence with a willingness to commit acts of violence.

Source: What Factors Cause Youth to Reject Violent Extremism? Results of an Exploratory Analysis in the West Bank

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1118.html

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