The rise of Islamism amongst Muslim youth in the UK

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Elisabeth Prugl

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mohia din Mesbahi

Third Advisor's Name

Ralph Clem

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to examine the possible reasons why Muslim youth are increasingly becoming attracted to radical Islam in the UK. Recent studies involving focus groups of Muslim youth across the UK and opinion surveys were used to measure youth's level of religious guidance, integration in society and feelings of hostility or of an enemy image of Islam. It was found that alienation from traditional methods of religious education, parents/ imams, is the possible first step that makes youth more vulnerable to outside Islamist groups. The second step is the lack of integration due to discrimination and feeling as an enemy within society. The enemy image includes the government's decision to invade Iraq and the perception that Muslims and Islam are under attack. There is a strong need for youth to reconcile their national and religious identities in order to be active citizens in the future.



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