Countering Radicalization in Refugee Camps: How Education an Help Defeat AQAP
Harvard Kennedy School
Terrorist recruitment and radicalization in refugee and IDP (internally displaced people) camps is a subject that has historically been very difficult to research, both due to host government restrictions on the research subject and international organizations’ reticence to provide access or information on the matter. This reticence is not born out of an ignorance of the situation on the ground or a rejection of these issues over more pressing humanitarian needs, but instead is usually based on a fear of host government retaliation toward the refugee population and/or the expulsion of international organizations from the crisis zone, which would invariably harm the population that they are trying to help in the first place. Thus, most of the research in this field is qualitative in nature and is difficult to undertake in a systematic fashion, which makes it harder to support broad conclusions about the subject matter. This paper seeks to analyze some of the causes of radicalization and recruitment in refugee/IDP camps (referred to as “refugee camps” heretofore), and makes the argument that receiving a well-rounded education, even if it produces mediocre academic results, is the most effective method of counter-radicalization in crisis situations and reduces the space for extremist organizations to recruit and operate.