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The Social- psychology of Non- radicalisation: How not to become a terrorist and why

19/03/2010

Thanks to the generosity of the Atkin Foundation, ICSR is offering young leaders from Israel and the Arab world the opportunity to come to London for a period of four months, producing a research paper as the result of their work. The purpose of the fellowship is to provide young leaders from Israel and the Arab world with an opportunity to develop their ideas on how to further peace and understanding in the Middle East through research, debate and constructive dialogue in a neutral political environment.

Sagit Yehoshua’s paper deals with the social psychology of non-radical individuals who are not involved in any violent or terrorist activities. The focus is on the role of the family and its advantages in influencing ones behaviour. Furthermore, normalisation is also looked at as another influential factor.

The paper compares successful and unsuccessful radicalisation processes in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It looks at three different groups. The first group is Arab Muslims born in an Arab country that moved to the UK for studies or work. Second is Arab Muslims born in Israel/Palestine that also came to the UK for similar reasons. The last group is leaders of terrorist organisations such as: Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad, who were interviewed by the researcher in Israeli prisons.

The comparison between the three groups emphasises the different perceptions and attitudes of the groups towards the Arab Israeli conflict in general and the issues of the use of violence and normalisation with Israel and Israelis specifically. The main findings suggests that a good social background and family status leads to the opening of opportunities and options to deal with the frustrating situation, and therefore those individuals have the ability to choose a better solution. Normalisaton with Israelis also has an important role in this process of preferring a non violent solutions.