Political Socialization and Terrorist Radicalization Among Individuals Who Joined al-Shabaab in Kenya
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism
abstract
Islamist extremism through al-Shabaab is increasing its foothold in Kenya. In contrast to the common perceptionäóîas depicted through government responsesäóîradicalization and recruitment extends well beyond Somali and KenyanäóñSomali nationals. Instead of exclusively focusing on external or environmental factors, the study on which this article is based analyzed the personal background of those being radicalized. This article will focus on the role the family and peers play in the political socialization process while analyzing factors influencing radicalization, most notably religious identity, economic, political, and educational background of al-Shabaab members. Based on interviews with al-Shabaab and family members the last part of the article evaluates when, why, and how respondents joined al-Shabaab. Through answering these key questions the Kenyan government and other agencies assisting in preventing radicalization can develop more effective counterradicalization and counterterrorism strategies based on empirical evidence.