“I Don’t Justify Anything Regarding My Son:” Danish Foreign Fighters’ Initial Attraction and Reaffirmed Commitment to Islamic State and Al Qaeda: Testimonies from Five Relatives

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Relatives are a potentially rich source of insight regarding foreign fighters’ pathways into Islamist fundamentalism. However, a small fraction of the literature that explores Salafi-jihadist trajectories examines the testimonies of extremists’ families. Based on qualitative interviews with relatives of five Danish, non-returned male foreign fighters, this article explores how and why—according to their relatives—the men were initially attracted and reaffirmed their commitment to violent jihadism. Findings reveal tensions within the data between ascribing responsibility to the men and mitigating their responsibility. Yet, the article suggests that the relatives’ testimonies should not be perceived simply as using “neutralization techniques” nor as exculpatory narratives, since there is a tendency for the relatives to acknowledge and even accept the men’s deviance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Salafi-jihadist trajectories, relatives, qualitative interviews, non-returned foreign fighters, punctured narratives

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