Netherlands: Youth radicalize because of 'group slights'

Netherlands: Youth radicalize because of 'group slights'

Extreme-right youth strongly define themselves against Muslims, while fundamentalist Muslim youth barely bother with the right-radical subculture. Also 'average' White youth think on average more negatively of Muslims then the other way around.

This according to a study on why youth radicalize and sympathize with terrorism, conduced by the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam for the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism (NCTB). In addition to interviews with extreme-right and Muslim fundamentalist youth, the researchers conducted aan internet survey among 1,341 Muslims ad non-Muslims 13-21 years old. The NCTB also wanted to know what 'regular' youth thought of Muslim and right-wing extremism.

One point of agreement is that youth don't radicalize because they feel personally marginalized, says investigator Kees van den Bos, professor of social psychology at Utrecht. Most youth think that they themselves get enough opportunites. They are more susceptible for radical ideas if they have the idea that 'their own group' isn't treated fairly. "Feelings of injustice play a crucial role in the radicalization process".

Fundamentalist Muslim youth experience mostly a "symbolic group threat," says Van den Bos. "When important symbols of Islam are attacked, they feel marginalized as a group." Extreme-right youth experience a more concerete 'danger': 'Muslims and immigrants snatch away our homes and jobs'.

Additionally, almost all the youth have in common that they reject terrorism. The more radical youth say they understand how that radicalization process work. Muslim youth seek the causes mostly within the group: 'Terrorist have insufficient knowledge of Islam'. According to the extreme-right, terrorism comes out of annoying experiences with 'foreigners'.

Both groups tend more strongly towards violence if they think the authorities are less legitimate. The internet study shows that most Muslims respect the Dutch govermnet (64%) and the police (almost 70%). Among the 'common Whites' that percentage is somewhat lower: respectively 57% and 62%.

Is it striking that almost 30% of the non-Muslims experience negative emotions in contact with other groups. Most Muslim youth (84%) don't experience that. White youth do feel more involved in Dutch society. That is not positive per-se, warns Van den Bos. Among Muslims involvement can be a buffer against radicalization. "By non-Muslims this can just lead to violence."

Source: Volkskrant (Dutch)

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