In new research, the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics (CRG) will explore how prominent militants made their journey to jihad.
CRG analysed the biographies of 100 jihadis from 41 countries, and 49 groups, across the Middle East and Africa.
Tony Blair shared on Facebook:
'In new research, the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics looks at the lives of 100 prominent jihadis, and their paths to violent extremism. It shows how diverse the individual backgrounds are, but also how connected the global jihadi movement is. One of the most significant findings in this research was the prevalence of jihadis who had links to non-violent Islamism, prior to engaging in jihad. This highlights the threat posed by the underlying extreme ideology, aspects of which are shared by both violent and non-violent extremist groups.
That’s not to say that these groups don’t prey on grievances such as poverty, inequality, and deprivation in order to recruit. But in the end, there’s an ideology that’s been taught. And we make a big mistake in policy at the moment when we focus on the tens of thousands that end up as violent jihadists, as in groups like ISIS. We’re not going to defeat the ideology unless we go to the roots of it.
There are millions of young people being educated to a narrow-minded and distorted view of the world from a very early age. They’re being taught that this is the right way to live their lives, according to a perverted interpretation of Islam. And if you don’t live like this, you’re an enemy. If we have millions of people being educated in this way, we shouldn’t be surprised that a proportion of them go into violent extremism.'
Tony Blair is a British Labour Party politician, who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), from 1997 to 2007.