Gang Affiliation and Radicalization to Violent Extremism Within Somali-American Communities: Draft Final Summary Overview   [open pdf - 153KB]

From the Project Purpose: "The primary purpose of this project was to understand to what degree radicalization to violent extremism and gang involvement are related. We proposed to empirically assess the degree to which gang affiliation and radicalization to violent extremism among Somali-American youth are related to each other, and potential divergences or convergences in these phenomena. Somali communities in North America offer a unique and important opportunity to explore questions of gang affiliation and radicalization to violent extremism within a discrete population that has had an unusually high base rate of exposure to psychosocial circumstances that can be related to these problems, such as discrimination, the challenge of developing one's social identity while contending with acculturation, and the potential to feel alienated from the larger society. We examined the intersection of radicalization to violent extremism and gang affiliation in two stages: 1) Pre-radicalization, where we broadly examined factors associated with attitudes towards violent extremism and gang affiliation among a general ethnic Somali population, and 2) Known radicalization, where we examined in-depth case studies of Somali youth who had left Minneapolis to allegedly join extremist groups for mention of or reference to gangs. In addition, supplemental funding allowed us to explore changes in radicalization to violent extremism over time. Specifically, we sought to understand how changes in psychosocial factors contributed to changes in attitudes towards violent extremism. Finally, we sought to examine how Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programming was experienced by and impacted members of a general Somali immigrant population."

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U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs: https://www.ojp.gov/
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