Resistance against extremism

We study young Norwegian Muslims’ understanding of religious faith and Islamic concepts.

About the project

The research project reveals how Muslims practice their religion, their sources of knowledge, and their thoughts on different Islamic affiliations. Most importantly, it studies how young Muslims battle violent extremism through counter-narratives and resistance stories.

The acts of few violent extremists often overshadow the Muslim majority population. In this project, rather than asking why some young Muslims are attracted to such groups, we explore why an overall majority is not. It is essential to uncover resistance and narratives specific to Muslim communities, to support and recognize their efforts in countering extremism.


We have conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with approximately 90 young Muslims in Norway. The ages of the participants ranges from 18 until 30 years old, with an equal number of women and men. The participants had numerous Islamic, ethnic and social backgrounds, and varied greatly in their understandings of the religion.


Interviews show that young Muslims have a large repertoire of stories to counter religious extremism. Some of these emerge from a different understanding of basic Islamic concepts while others reject jihadism on more general grounds. We also discuss the new role of Internet, sectarianism, and reasons for radicalization. Our study proves the importance of everyday religion for understanding Islam’s role in society.

Selected media appearances 

"Faith is a private matter for young Norwegian Muslims" on ScienceNordic

Published Sep. 21, 2016 12:55 PM - Last modified Feb. 4, 2019 10:09 AM