Why We Went to Fight and Why We Returned: Radicalisation and Deradicalisation – Learning from Foreign Terrorist Fighters

This research paper by the Research Centre of Religious Studies is based on interviews with 38 foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) who are alleged to have gone to fight in Syria, mainly with violent extremist organizations such as the Al Qaeda affiliates, and, to a lesser extent with Daesh and other groups. These interviews were supplemented by interviews with families of FTF and analyzed in consultation with civil society experts.

The use of a rapport-building style of interviewing by trained and experienced research staff, who had previously gained the confidence of prison officials, allowed researchers to sit alone with prisoners resulting in candid responses to questions that this research paper reflects.

The STRIVE Global Program, funded by the European Union, at Hedayah, supported the project.