The Radicalisation of Young Europeans

The attacks that took place in Paris on November 13th were an absolute tragedy — forever altering the lives of many innocent people. Whilst the attacks were carried out by fear inflicting terrorists, it is now more important than ever for the rest of the world to show strength and unity, and stand as one.

It is important for us to remember that we can not let these acts of terror cloud our judgment, nor allow us to blame one religion and one community, for the acts committed by a specific group of individuals.

The topic I wish to discuss today is that of the young population that seems to be leaving their home countries to join the fight against The West. How has it gotten to the point it has? Why are so many young Europeans leaving to be part of this terrorist organisation? Why do they join the fight against the West — a place which they have once called their home? In light of these questions, it is important to ask ourselves; where does the problem really lie, and what are the factors behind it?

There are many reasons for radicalisation and extremism. Whilst it is not a secret that the West ( politicians, the media, and individuals) like to blame religion or the corruption of Middle Eastern States for fostering terrorist behavior (see link below), maybe part of the problem lies a little bit closer to home that we would like to admit.

One of the main reasons why radicalisation takes place is because there is a strong lack of a sense of belonging. Individuals feel like they are not being heard by the society they live in. They are forgotten. Pushed to the sidelines. It seems as though they have no hope for the future; no one wants them, and no one cares.

Most young Europeans that have left, did so because they felt no sense of attachment to the country they grew up in. They left to join a group that promotes “brotherhood” and “unity”, contrary to the country they grew up in, bad at tackling racism/discrimination/segregation, and not better at promoting integration, fairness, and equality for all.

These kids are being left out by their own state — their rough neighbourhoods are forgotten, their schools and its education system don’t have high standards, they are constantly surrounded by drugs and gangs, they are treated as outsiders, and the government does not help them in the same equal way as the rest of society. Despite legally being part of a country, they are simply not receiving the same benefits as other citizens are. They feel injustice, they breathe injustice — they are living in it every single day.

Unfortunately, these broken down societies — where the population is fragmented and where people are unsatisfied — are viewed as perfect for Daesh leaders. These kids are easy preys. Terror groups need people who feel lost, as they are the easiest to lure and brainwash into an organisation where there is somewhat of a sense of belonging. The one’s that our societies’ have failed, are their potential gains.

Knowing this, the question is where do we go from here?

Is the right answer really to spend more time and more money on combating Daesh in the Middle East (killing thousands of innocent civilians in the process)? Or is the answer maybe to invest more of that time/money on our own countries, combating the radicalisation of young people, and making them feel more at home in their own countries?

Are our Western countries really setting a good example by going to war against Daesh, procreating daily for Syrians what shook the streets of Paris for a couple of hours? Is it not a bit contradictory for our governments to indiscriminately condemn those killing innocent civilians whilst they are retaliating in more or less the same way? Should our governments then not also be branded as indiscriminating?

I of course do not have the answers to all of these questions. My long post is here to be discussed and talked about. I believe that by expressing our opinions and thoughts we can all learn more from each other, and hopefully someday come to somewhat of an answer to this crisis.


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