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Research Paper

Foreign (Terrorist) Fighters with IS: A European Perspective

23 Dec 2015

This Research Paper by Dr. Alex P. Schmid opens with a brief exposition of the foreign (terrorist) fighter (FTF) phenomenon, concentrating on Salafist jihadists and their astonishing growth after the Caliphate was proclaimed in mid-2014. The author then discusses various definitions of FTFs. Subsequently, Dr. Schmid seeks to bring structure and order into the widely diverging estimates of the numbers of foreign fighters. He then identifies problems posed by foreign fighters for European democracies with Muslim diasporas, focusing on the range of motivations driving vulnerable young men and women - mainly second generation immigrants and recent converts to Islam - to join the so-called "Islamic State". Having identified push and pull as well as resilience factors that facilitate or inhibit young Muslims joining ISIS, he argues that stopping them from departing to Syria is not enough; political solutions have to be sought. The principal compiler of the bibliography is Dr. Judith Tinnes. An earlier version of the first part of this Research Report has been published as an ICCT Policy Brief in October 2015.

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How to cite: Schmid, A. P. and J. Tinnes. “Foreign (Terrorist) Fighters with IS: A European Perspective”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague 6, no. 8 (2015). DOI: ISSN: 2468-0656