In bad faith: the link between religious conversion and violent extremism
Gibson, Brian J.
MetadataShow full item record
Recent studies found a disproportionate number of converts to Islam taking part in radical activities as opposed to those born into the faith. While research linking conversion to radicalization is available, a gap exists in research examining what in the conversion process is causing this phenomenon. This thesis asks, what is the relationship between religious conversion and violent extremism? This study explores 38 individuals who converted to Islam and subsequently committed a radical act. The thesis investigates four hypotheses concerning sociological and psychological factors driving religious conversion. These driving factors are a lack of secure attachments, interpersonal connections, significant personal problems, and individuals with perceived grievances being targeted by recruiters. The most significant driving factor in radicalization was individuals who had significant personal problems in their lives leading up to conversion, especially if a previous connection to a radical milieu existed. Recruiters seeking targets of opportunity among aggrieved individuals to convert was not a significant driving factor. Religious conversion by itself should not raise red flags, but conversion with other underlying factors indicates a greater risk for radicalization. The underlying factors are the drivers of radicalization, and the conversion gives individuals a reason to manifest their radical tendencies.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Mealer, Michael J. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2012-09);Popular opinion expresses fear that accessing radical Islamic content and connecting with extremist networks through Internet functionalities causes radicalization and recruitment to commit terrorist acts. Anecdotal evidence ...
Arndt, Michael C.; Maksimowicz, Michael S. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2010-12);De-radicalization programs for captured jihadi fighters have had mixed success in the Arab world. The Saudi Arabian and U.S. effort in Iraq serve as examples of effective de-radicalization programs, while the Yemeni program ...
Maksimowicz, Michael S. (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2010-12);De-radicalization programs for captured jihadi fighters have had mixed success in the Arab world. The Saudi Arabian and U.S. effort in Iraq serve as examples of effective de-radicalization programs, while the Yemeni program ...