Summary of Breaking the Wall of Radicalisation

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A spate of suicide terrorist attacks across Western Europe has bewildered citizens, many of whom cannot fathom why terrorists would resort to such desperate measures. Peter Neumann, a professor of security studies, sheds some light on this issue. His extensive study of Europe’s homegrown terrorists found several commonalities among those who join cells, which may help to demystify violent extremism. getAbstract recommends Neumann’s ideas to anyone interested in finding measured, peaceful counterterrorist solutions.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What incites people to turn to terrorism,
  • What characteristics many terrorists share and
  • How Western societies can fight the spread of homegrown terrorism.

About the Speaker

Peter Neumann is a professor of security studies at King’s College, London.



What drives people to turn to terrorism? Most security studies scholars agree on three common threads: First, terrorists aren’t medically insane, though their actions may seem crazy to the uninitiated. Second, individuals don’t make split-second decisions to become violent extremists. Most undergo a lengthy process before arriving at that end. Third, no sweeping generalization can explain all terrorists’ paths; for example, terrorists are neither all poor and uneducated nor all wealthy and cultivated. The reality is much more complex.

Since 2011, the world has seen a large uptick in instances...

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