How do European Muslim men and women become involved in a violent jihadist struggle abroad? After the sharp increase in the number of European jihadist foreign fighters in Syria since 2012, this has become a pressing question for both academics and policymakers. Concrete empirical examples of radicalisation processes and preparations for engaging in the violent jihad in Syria can help to increase our understanding of these processes. In this article we will discuss the main elements of five Dutch jihadist foreign fighters’ radicalisation and preparatory acts. This information is derived from interviews with persons who had been in the direct environment of these jihadists during their radicalisation phase and the time they were preparing their travel to Syria. The findings are brought together and presented in the form of two composite stories of fictional Dutch foreign fighters–‘Daan’ and ‘Driss’–that can be regarded as typical for a number of other Dutch cases.
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The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…