Drivers of Religious Radicalisation And Extremism In The Sahel
Religious radicalisation is an ever-growing global phenomenon. It is a process which forms through strategy, structure and conjuncture, and involves the adaptation and sustained use of violent means to achieve articulated political goals. The process of radicalisation stems from the adoption of a long-term strategy in combination with short term tactics, each chosen from a variety of violent and non-violent options and in the service of goals which potentially evolve in the course of the process.
A pertinent question is: How is religious radicalisation able to grow and what steps can be taken to limit its impacts in the region? Understanding radicalisation and how it shapes the communities’ and governments’ varied responses to it can greatly assist a better comprehension of its effects on significant issues such as: economics, education, gender roles, security, judicial reform and land use. The results of research into this topic could prove very useful in investigating new and/or improved Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) measures, at least from the Religious Radicalisation perspective.
Crucially, state and international activities can affect radicalisation and thus limit its impact on society. For example, understanding radicalisation and the complex relationships between it and civilian populations can help the international community “limit civilian casualties, prevent displacement or promote development in war-affected areas”. The legitimacy and success of interventions in reconstruction, reconciliation and reintegration is very often directly related to the level of understanding of the complexity of the entire scenario.
A recurring difficulty is the fact that any research on radicalisation in this region suffers from the scarcity and limited quality of the data. Data provided by state sources can be of varying utility and what is collected is often not available as it is often not open sourced. The published documents from certain states can contain inflated claims and/or suppress problematic aspects for propaganda purposes. Although NGO’s also carry out research on radicalisation, for security reasons, limited help from local governments and lack of funding the results are often incomplete or only apply to specific locations.