Why Do Young People Get Radicalised

Young People get radicalised for many reasons. Some young people feel they have been badly treated by society - they may have feelings of injustice over social or political issues. Some have personal problems which colour how they view everything.

Whilst some of the young people who have been radicalised may be naive, others are fairly educated.

The availability of social networks today like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as platforms like YouTube and other forums, also make it very easy for anyone to create and share content - good and bad.

Extremists use social networks to create and propagate hate messages, and encourage war, killing and violence. It is therefore all the more important that you use your critical thinking skills when reading content, audio and video on social media and other sites and apps.

Extremists also put across their points of views as the only correct point of view, and try and make you feel a moral obligation to join the fight. They make you believe that you are obliged to do this action for your religion. Sometimes, because of a lack of their own knowledge and values, young people may get hooked into or brainwashed into thinking and adopting extremist ideology, believing this is what their religion commands them to do.

They may feel that others have more accurate information about religious or political issues, when really these others are only promoting their own hidden agenda. They are influenced and pressured by others to go ahead with their own desires.

In some cases, young people may feel peer pressure to join an extremist cause.

Extremist may come from groups like ISIS. However, sometimes they are ordinary people who have families. Sometimes they are people in positions of power - preachers or community leaders.

According to the Guardian [1]

"Young British Muslims who believe they are seen as nobodies in their own country are bound to be attracted by the idea of being heroes elsewhere".

Nevertheless, according to radicalisation research [2], social segregation encountered by middle-class, educated persons can also be a significant cause of radicalisation.


[1]http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/13/radicalisation-brainwashing-british-men-syria-julian-baggini [2014]

[2] http://www.radicalisationresearch.org/guides/francis-2012-causes-2 [2012]

The video below on Pathways to Radicalisation is by Quilliam founder Ed Husain and anthropologist Scott Atran.

Below, Diane Benscoter talks about how she joined the Moonies - a cult movement for five years. She shares her insider experience on cults and extremist movements, and suggests that we need to rethink how we tackle some of our most troubling problems today.

Below - another video sharing how radicalisation happens.