The project undertaken by MEF with the support of IDRC is an attempt to gain a better understanding of key factors that drive youth impetus to join violent extremist groups. It is based on direct interaction with a group of Tunisian youth using interviews and focus groups and examines whether radicalized youth have financial difficulties (unemployment, economic exclusion), issues of social support, and social recognition (identity crisis, social exclusion), or are culturally marginalized (cultural exclusion).
This document comes to provide the keys to understanding and exploring the radicalization phenomenon which plagues our countries. Intensified by the notion of global village, the loss of identity, the repeated economic crises and their corollary unemployment, the galloping world demography, the clash of civilizations but also that of religions, the growing inequalities , this radicalization finds its source both within our countries and internationally. So many elements that contribute to identity withdrawal and very probably to the rise of violent extremism.
Research work, mainly by the World Bank, shows that youth dissatisfaction or disillusionment that drove the Arab Spring was more linked to the decline in the quality of life and inequality of wealth among middle class and wealthier groups. Repressive governments in the Middle East relied on a social contract, known as the “authoritarian bargain,” by giving their citizens free public services in exchange for support. However, the political control of the economy hampered the creation of jobs in the private sector while restricting growth in the public sector, leading to a breakdown of this social contract, resulting in exclusion of large groups of people from wealth and power. These were the grievances that spurred the revolutions and violence of the Arab Spring and are often echoed by violent extremists as their motivations.
On this basis, this report considers Inclusion as an approach to remedy certain root causes of radicalization which can be used to prevent violent extremism or/and deradicalize extremists. The report analyses the perception of inclusion based on 6 key factors:
- Civic Engagement,
- Political Participation,
- Social acceptance.
The research work, based on the perception of Tunisian youth that participated in the study, shows that fighting violent extremism and promoting de-radicalisation is directly linked to improving perception of these 6 factors and ensuring better inclusiveness of youth in social, economic, and political lives. The inclusion of youth should ensure their full and active participation in decision-making and transforming current policies to be more in line with their future aspirations and the rapidly changing world around them.
Beyond the inclusion of youth in all aspects of life, fighting violent extremism and radicalization requires strong government action at national and regional level.
These actions can be translated into concrete measures to improve social norms, public policies and the regulatory framework in the Maghreb region to strengthen preventive processes and provide the right space for youth to grow and prosper through a more inclusive and equitable economic and political system
President – Maghreb Economic Forum