|Micro-level drivers

Micro approaches to the study of radicalisation and
violent extremism: a view from the MENA region

11 April 2024

This report delves into the intricate landscape of micro-level drivers of violent extremism (VE) within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It offers the quantitative core of the European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 CONNEKT project1 along with the parallel regional report on micro-level drivers of VE in the Balkans (Peci, 2024). The analysis in this report is informed by non-representative national surveys conducted with 1,244 young people in Egypt, Jordan and Morocco between March and April 2023.

The insights derived from this report contribute to research on MENA’s macro-level approaches to VE studies (Mouna and Er-rifaiy, 2021), and the comprehensive examinations of VE drivers at the meso level in both the MENA) region and the Balkans (Chirchi, 2022). In addition, the results can be compared with the Egypt, Jordan and Morocco country reports on micro-level drivers of VE, published as part of CONNEKT.

Central to this analysis are the seven VE drivers identified by CONNEKT: religion, economic deprivation, political grievances, culture and leisure opportunities, digital literacy, territorial inequalities, and transnational dynamics. Instead of discussing at length country findings on these drivers and related prevention of violent extremism (PVE) insights, which are examined in country specific publications, this report presents regional outliers to understand VE drivers and PVE pathways. The report concludes with a set of policy recommendations through a preventive lens focusing on youth and gender.

The findings of this report offer valuable policy and analytical insights to policy-makers, PVE stakeholders, and academics. First, the analysis explains individual everyday experiences of youth in relation to the drivers of VE. The insights drawn from the quantitative data show how youth in the MENA region are affected by drivers of VE, and clarifies PVE priorities as far as individual experiences are concerned. Second, the research sample included youth aged 15-18 (14% of the sample), which is a rarely accessed age group. This allows for deeper analysis of the relationship between the VE drivers and people in late childhood years. Finally, this is the only study that quantitatively analyses drivers of VE on the individual level with a relatively large sample size of 1,244 young people in the region, giving the results an added value for policy design. Building on data-driven analysis of VE drivers, this report paves the way toward more effective and tailored approaches to countering violent extremism (CVE).

Two limitations shape the results analysed in this report. First, due to the non-representative research sample, all results are indicative and cannot be generalised. The value of the findings lies in the PVE policy insights that they offer. Furthermore, the data offers an understanding of how VE drivers are experienced by some youth across age groups, gender and locations in the three countries. Another important limitation is that the data collected, by design, does not allow strong correlations to be established between different drivers. Cross-tabulations are occasionally used to explain results. Second, the data collected is not extensive. In several cases, the quantitative results are best explained through follow-up qualitative investigations to understand how respondents understand a driver of a PVE factor. This qualitative data is left to the speculation of researchers. Further studies are necessary to understand the results systematically.

Related Publications

05/2024 |
Prevention Measures against Violent Extremism and Radicalisation in the MENA and Balkans [+]
05/2024 |
Prevention Guidelines for Local Authorities in the MENA and the Balkans [+]
05/2024 |
MOROCCO - Country Paper on Micro-Level Drivers [+]