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What drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian case

Rik Coolsaet (UGent)
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Abstract
Radicalisation studies and policies mostly neglect the context that permits it to arise. This paper argues that today’s foreign fighters that voyage from Europe to Syria are difficult to compare with the yesterday’s foreign fighter. They differ significantly from their predecessors, as does the context that propels them to a faraway country. Their decision is no longer the outcome of a process of political radicalisation, as is often touted by authorities. It is rooted in a specific youth subculture that has developed in reaction to an environment many young people in Europe resent as complex, demanding, unequal, and without hope for a change for the better. Mere socio-economic profiles have never been adequate as an explanation for terrorism. Likewise, some European foreign fighters have college degrees and not all Belgian foreign fighters come from deprived neighbourhoods or face a precarious socio-economic and professional situation. But a majority nevertheless does. Taken together, these elements constitute the conducive environment for the wide array of personal, age-related motivations through which a youngster may be tempted by an escape to Syria.
Keywords
Radicalisation, foreign fighters, terrosiem, Middle East

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Coolsaet, Rik. What Drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian Case. Gent: Academia Press, 2015. Print.
APA
Coolsaet, R. (2015). What drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian case. Egmont Paper. Gent: Academia Press.
Chicago author-date
Coolsaet, Rik. 2015. What Drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian Case. Egmont Paper. Gent: Academia Press.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Coolsaet, Rik. 2015. What Drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian Case. Egmont Paper. Gent: Academia Press.
Vancouver
1.
Coolsaet R. What drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian case. Egmont Paper. Gent: Academia Press; 2015.
IEEE
[1]
R. Coolsaet, What drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian case. Gent: Academia Press, 2015.
@book{5893596,
  abstract     = {Radicalisation studies and policies mostly neglect the context that permits it to arise. This paper argues that today’s foreign fighters that voyage from Europe to Syria are difficult to compare with the yesterday’s foreign fighter. They differ significantly from their predecessors, as does the context that propels them to a faraway country. Their decision is no longer the outcome of a process of political radicalisation, as is often touted by authorities. It is rooted in a specific youth subculture that has developed in reaction to an environment many young people in Europe resent as complex, demanding, unequal, and without hope for a change for the better. Mere socio-economic profiles have never been adequate as an explanation for terrorism. Likewise, some European foreign fighters have college degrees and not all Belgian foreign fighters come from deprived neighbourhoods or face a precarious socio-economic and professional situation. But a majority nevertheless does. Taken together, these elements constitute the conducive environment for the wide array of personal, age-related motivations through which a youngster may be tempted by an escape to Syria.},
  author       = {Coolsaet, Rik},
  isbn         = {9789038224848},
  keywords     = {Radicalisation,foreign fighters,terrosiem,Middle East},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {24},
  publisher    = {Academia Press},
  series       = {Egmont Paper},
  title        = {What drives Europeans to Syria, and to IS ? Insights from the Belgian case},
  year         = {2015},
}