Community and family approaches to combating the radicalization and recruitment of Somali-American youth and young adults: A psychosocial perspective

Stevan Weine, John Horgan, Cheryl Robertson, Sana Loue, Amin Mohamed, Sahra Noor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Between late 2007 and autumn 2008, an estimated 18 or more Somali-American adolescent boys and young men living in the Minneapolis area secretly left their homes and flew to Somalia to join militant extremist training camps run by the Al Shabaab extremist organization. Political instability in Somalia, the 2006 Ethiopian invasion, social difficulties in US refugee communities, family instability, and local networks, all adeptly exploited by extremist recruiters, have together created contextual risks for violent radicalization amongst those Somalis resettled as refugees in the US as children and adolescents. While existing terrorism prevention efforts may interact with the community and family processes that influence radicalization and recruitment, the lack of adequate conceptualization of these processes poses a major challenge. In particular, it impedes progress in the development of prevention strategies. In this paper we examine the situation of Somalis in Minnesota from a psychosocial perspective. Specifically, we propose strategies derived from public health interventions for managing the risks of radicalization and recruitment by focusing on ways to enhance community and family protective resources for those at risk.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDynamics of Asymmetric Conflict
Pages181-200
Number of pages20
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

Publication series

NameDynamics of Asymmetric Conflict
Volume2

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