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Radicalization and Resistance

The project explores the relationship between everyday religion and extremism.


In recent years, several terror attacks in Europe have been inspired by violent jihadism. Some young Muslims are attracted to violent interpretations of Islam and some have traveled to conflict areas in order to join terror organizations, which has received much media attention. Many of them do not have a religious background, but come from a social context of street culture, illegal drug use and crime.

This represents a small minority, and most young Muslims in Norway stand against violent extremism. Earlier research has been dedicated to the topic, however it remains unclear why and how jihadi rhetoric is rejected.

Professor Sveinung Sandberg leads the project.

About the Project

We highlight what Islam signifies for young Muslims, as well as their mechanisms of resistance to jihadism. The social and cultural backgrounds for religious extremism are also uncovered.

The data consists of interviews with young “regular” Muslims, fieldwork in a criminal environment and online extreme material. The project is divided into three subprojects. The first studies Muslim everyday religion and resistance to extremism among young Muslims. The second subproject analyzes the subtle connections between street culture and jihadi subcultures, while jihadi organizations’ use of internet and social media are identified in the third project.

New insight regarding extremism online and in street culture are important, but it is essential to look at how extremism is refuted within Muslim communities. By thoroughly gathering counter-narratives to violent jihadism, preventive steps can be adapted. This will also provide a more informed public debate on Islam and nuance existing prejudices.



The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway, through the SAMKUL-program.




The project cooperates with researchers from the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), the University of Tennessee (USA), the University of Alberta (USA), the University of Tampere (Finland), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Published Sep. 19, 2016 3:22 PM - Last modified Nov. 23, 2018 10:08 PM


Detailed list of participants