7,000 young Tunisians have joined Daesh1 in Syria, constituting the largest foreign fighters’ group to date (The Soufan Group, 2015). My 22-year-old cousin could have been among them. He explained that while others have taken advantage of the political vacuum of the revolution, “I felt more marginalised”.
Since 2012, Tunisia has projected into the public imagination a rhetoric of fear and surveillance to justify the treatment of youth as potential terror suspects. This perception of fear is gradually translating into policies that have further radicalised disaffected youth.
An accurate understanding of the factors leading to radicalisation is essential in developing an effective policy response. We need to prevent radicalisation in the first place and address the need for youth to find nonviolent social and political identities.
This can be achieved if governments focus on rebuilding trust with youth through their equal participation in shaping public policy and the future of their country. More