Eva Hoffman, former editor of The New York Times and Visiting Professor at the UCL European Institute, asks what propels individuals to turn to extremist movements and argues that we need to build a ‘culture of democracy’ with shared norms and ethics.
Among all the disturbing developments accompanying the rise of ISIS and its terrible progress, the phenomenon of European jihadis joining that movement’s ranks – and in some cases becoming suicide-bombers or taking part in the beheadings of hostages –is, to many Western observers, the most chillingly perplexing. Why do hundreds of Muslims, many of them educated and from comfortable backgrounds, decide to leave the politically temperate zones of Western democracies and join a movement of such barbaric brutality? What makes these young men and women so susceptible to the extremist Islamist message? Continue reading