Student Author Information

Matt SladeFollow

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2019

Department

Political Science

Abstract

This thesis attempted to create a better understanding of how the transition from Islamic and right-wing radicalization to violent terrorism occurs in Western countries. The hypothesis that was tested was that the greater level of radical actions an individual takes part in based on their extreme views, the greater likelihood that they will participate or attempt to participate in violent terrorism. There are eight fanatical behaviors that have to be combined with three contextual factors in order for a radical extremist to be pushed towards violence. This research added on to the Fanaticism school of thought that has been under-researched by testing their model on the case studies of Nidal Hasan, Momin Khawaja, Abdulhakim Mohammad and Mohammed Bouyeri, Anders Breivik and Timothy McVeigh. Each individual is scored based off of the amount of radical actions and contextual factors they fit into. While this thesis was unable to prove the hypothesis due to the small sample size, its finding suggests that radical actions, in particular the construction of a social environment that sustains fanatical views, plays a significant role in pushing these individuals towards violence regardless of the specific ideological beliefs. Further research on this topic is needed in the future.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Daniel Lang, Dr. Brian Crim and Dr. Beth Savage

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Apr 10th, 3:45 PM

The Process of Radicalization: Understanding the Road to Terrorism

This thesis attempted to create a better understanding of how the transition from Islamic and right-wing radicalization to violent terrorism occurs in Western countries. The hypothesis that was tested was that the greater level of radical actions an individual takes part in based on their extreme views, the greater likelihood that they will participate or attempt to participate in violent terrorism. There are eight fanatical behaviors that have to be combined with three contextual factors in order for a radical extremist to be pushed towards violence. This research added on to the Fanaticism school of thought that has been under-researched by testing their model on the case studies of Nidal Hasan, Momin Khawaja, Abdulhakim Mohammad and Mohammed Bouyeri, Anders Breivik and Timothy McVeigh. Each individual is scored based off of the amount of radical actions and contextual factors they fit into. While this thesis was unable to prove the hypothesis due to the small sample size, its finding suggests that radical actions, in particular the construction of a social environment that sustains fanatical views, plays a significant role in pushing these individuals towards violence regardless of the specific ideological beliefs. Further research on this topic is needed in the future.