Radicalisation of diaspora communities


What factors (including host and home country factors) influence the radicalisation or deradicalisation of diaspora communities?


Much of the literature emphasizes that radicalisation cannot be attributed to any one factor, but is rather the outcome of a multiplicity of factors.

Individual and community influences (micro level) include:

  • Identity crisis: second and third generation immigrant and diaspora communities may experience ‘cultural marginalisation’ in terms of alienation and lack of belonging to either home or host society.
  • Community factors: the nature of community-level groups and networks can influence identity formation and contribute to vulnerability for radicalisation.
  • Discrimination (real or perceived): discrimination can be a source of frustration that can contribute to identity crises. Some victims of perceived discrimination may react with political violence.

Host country influences (macro level) include:

  • Failed integration and marginalisation: the establishment of homogenous, parallel societies can make diaspora communities vulnerable to radicalisation.
  • History of colonisation: a history of cultural and political domination (or lack thereof) influence the relationship between the host society and diaspora groups, and the political views held by diasporas.
  • Status of religion: a firm belief in secularization in host societies can contribute to a sense of alienation among religious diaspora groups.

Home country influences (macro level) include:

  • Events in the homeland: independence and the perpetration of grave violations of human rights in the homeland can radicalise diaspora politics.
  • Home country linkages: engagement by state and non-state organisations in the home country can play a role in the position of diaspora groups
  • Composition of migrants: migrants that experienced social exclusion in their home country may be more susceptible to radicalisation.

Dynamics/enabling environment (meso level) include:

  • Social media: social media, particularly YouTube can play an important role in the dissemination of radical messages and radicalisation of vulnerable individuals.
  • International geopolitics: the negative effects of global events have the potential to attract young people to extremist organisations.
  • Vilification: actions of a radical minority can create the conditions for widespread negative sentiment and discriminatory responses toward the moderate majority.
  • Trauma: the psychological scars that many conflict-generated diaspora have may render them vulnerable to radicalisation.
  • Resources: radical groups can be strengthened by effective money collection systems targeting the diaspora.

Broad measures aimed at deradicalisation include: promoting integration; community outreach; and developing counter-narratives.