Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post
Why Moderate Muslims Come to Support Extremist Groups
Why do some extremist groups, such as the one that attacked Egypt’s al-Rawda mosque, thrive in today’s civil wars in ways that moderate groups have not? In 2016, Salafi-jihadist groups accounted for most of the major militant groups in Syria, half of all such groups in Somalia and a third of Iraq’s militant groups.
Most people assume that Salafi-jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State emerged because the “average” Muslim has become more radical over time. But in new research, I show this is not necessarily the case. In times of civil war, moderate Muslims have very good reasons to support extremist groups, even if they don’t believe the radical ideologies behind them.
In the Spotlight
Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security