The Roots of Extremism

Chatham HouseMatthew Goodwin

Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, policy approaches to extremism were guided by a heavy if not exclusive focus on its religionbased forms. Attempts were made to understand the dynamics of Al-Qaeda and violent Jihadist and Islamist related groups, and to map individual pathways into these particular forms of extremist mobilization. Recent events in North Africa, Somalia and Yemen confirm the continuing dominance of the security challenge posed by such extremism.

But a number of incidents in Europe and the United States have also sparked calls for counter-strategies to be modified or expanded, and for greater resources to be devoted to understanding alternative forms of violent and non-violent extremism, particularly those associated with extreme right-wing or ethnic nationalist ideologies.

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