De-Radicalising Militant Salafists

Nina Käsehage


In the framework of research on Salafism for a doctoral thesis at the Department of Religious Studies at Göttingen University, the author of this Special Correspondence conducted, between 2012 and 2016, a total of 175 interviews with Salafist preachers and their followers in ten countries. What started as an academic investigation soon became also a humanitarian rescue effort as 38 of the interviewees were preparing to go to Syria in order to join the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusrah (more recently renamed Fatah as-Sham). In collaboration with the interviewees’ parents, the author managed – by channeling existing destructive potential into more constructive paths – to prevent the departure of 35 of them [Those radicalized militants where her crisis intervention was not successful got killed shortly after their arrival in Syria]. In the following contribution to Perspectives on Terrorism, the author shares some reflections on her conversations with three militants – two girls and one young man – each representing a different type of vulnerable person.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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