Muslim Youth Unemployment and Expat Jihadism- Bored to Death? - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Muslim Youth Unemployment and Expat Jihadism- Bored to Death?

Moamen Gouda and Marcus Marktanner

June, 2017


21 pages

D7. Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
H5. National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
F5. International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
J6. Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

While the presence of foreign fighters in military conflict has been a regular ingredient of jihad, never before in modern history have foreign fighters gathered at the scale and speed as they have in the territory of the so-called Islamic State. As the foreign fighter phenomenon in Syria and Iraq poses severe security risks for the sender countries, especially from battlefield returnees and lone-wolf sympathizers, it becomes imperative to better understand the push factors of expat jihadism. Empirical studies of these factors are still scarce and often generate contradicting results. The objective of our paper is to contribute to the emerging discussion of the push factors of expat jihadism and to complement the findings of the few empirical studies already conducted. Contrary to other studies, we provide strong evidence for the hypothesis that Muslim youth unemployment is a driver of expat jihadism not only for the Arab world, but globally.


لم يسبق مثيل في التاريخ الحديث أن يتجمع المقاتلون الأجانب على نطاق وسرعة كما فعلوا في أراضي ما يسمى بالدولة الإسلامية. وبما أن ظاهرة المقاتلين الأجانب في سوريا والعراق تشكل مخاطر أمنية شديدة بالنسبة للبلدان المرسلة، وخاصة من العائدين في ساحة المعركة والمتعاطفين مع الذئب الوحيد، يصبح من الضروري فهم العوامل الدافعة للمغادرة الجهادية بشكل أفضل. ولا تزال الدراسات التجريبية لهذه العوامل نادرة وغالبا ما تولد نتائج متناقضة. والهدف من ورقتنا هو المساهمة في النقاش الناشئ لعوامل دفع المغتربين الجهاديين واستكمال نتائج الدراسات التجريبية القليلة التي أجريت بالفعل. خلافا للدراسات الأخرى، فإننا نقدم دليلا قويا على فرضية أن بطالة الشباب المسلم هي محرك المغتربين الجهاديين ليس فقط للعالم العربي، ولكن على الصعيد العالمي

Research Fellows

Moamen Gouda

Assistant Professor of Middle-East Economics, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Marcus Marktanner



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