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Radicalisation and terrorism

In the last decade, countering radicalisation that turns to terrorism has become an issue of particular concern for many European governments. It has reached new dramatic dimensions with the violent attacks in Paris from 2015. The current situation in Syria and Iraq and the emergence of the so-called Islamic State have led to new security threats especially concerning EU citizens joining the ranks of ISIS as foreign fighters. Another worrying trend for many countries in Europe is right-wing extremism which also has seen a resurgence in recent years. In response to terrorist attacks on European soil , many ‘softer’ policies were rolled out, especially in older EU member states. Instead of focusing exclusively on the immediate prevention of terrorist attacks, these policies aim at identifying and reversing the radicalisation process which often precedes the use of violence. This implies identifying and addressing root causes and drivers for radicalisation instead of focusing on enforcing control over its manifestations.

Yet, in many European states decision-makers lack the appropriate evidence to guide policy actions. More empirical evidence is needed on why, when and how individuals and groups are recruited in extremist organisations and under what conditions some of these individuals come to engage in violent acts. This is not an easy task as there is no single root cause of terrorism.

Developing working mechanisms in preventing and countering radicalisation is a long process that requires tailor-made instruments for recognising, monitoring and evaluating certain risk signs early on. This calls for the involvement of a wide range of public sector bodies and civil society, as well as having in place a supporting institutional infrastructure to enable multi-agency cooperation and community engagement.

Recognising the challenges that phenomena of radicalisation and terrorism pose before European societies, CSD works on developing effective methods to monitor radicalisation processes and identify risk groups in Southeast Europe.



all events

The Links Between Crime and Terrorism in Europe
Radicalisaiton and terrorism are among the most pressing security threats in the European Union. The possible interaction or convergence between conventional and organised criminals on the one hand and extremists on the other can amplify the risks presented by both security issues. more »
Counter Terrorism: Bush, Obama, and Trump Policies
Whilst the US counter-terrorism policy is still being debated within the Trump Administration, there are already indications that it will remain consistent with the underlying trend observed under the Bush and Obama Administrations, whereby terrorism is framed as a foreign rather than a domestic threat against which America must protect itself with stronger borders, travel restrictions, and reductions in refugee flows and immigration as part of an open-ended conflict. more »


all publications

Who are the European Jihadists?
Radicalisaiton and terrorism are key challenges which are the forefront of the security agenda across the globe. A similarly important, related problem is the intersection between these phenomena and other crimes. The nature and type of such links need to be well mapped out and understood to facilitate the development of working counteraction strategies. more »
From criminals to terrorists and back: Bulgaria quarterly report
Radicalisation and terrorism as well as their possible intersection with other crimes are key security challenges in Europe. The current report presents emergent findings on the link between extremism and crime in Bulgaria. more »
From Criminals to Terrorists and Back Kick-off Report
Radicalisaiton and terrorism are among the most pressing security concerns facing Europe. At the same time, intersections and convergence between crime on the one hand and terrorism on the other has the potential to amplify security risks. more »
Risks of Islamist Radicalisation in Bulgaria: A Case Study in the Iztok Neighbourhood of the City of Pazardzhik
In the context of the escalation of extremist Islamist violence in many EC countries today, the issue of the risks of home grown Islamist radicalization in Bulgaria is the subject of heated public debates. Preventing and studying (Islamist) radicalization has become a priority in Europe, giving rise to wealth of publications that explore its motives and causes as well as the processes whereby individuals and groups come to espouse extremist ideas and engage in violent actions. Such studies are lacking in Bulgaria while worries about the potential influence that international terrorist organisations and the related Islamist extremist ideologies could exert in the country are rising. more »

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