How Security Studies Explore the Roots of Terror

What is it that motivates a formerly non-religious person to plan and commit a massacre declared as an act of god? What are the factors that attract young Europeans to a career as islamist fighters on the battlefields of Syria? These are just two of the complex questions associated with the most recent waves of radicalisation and terror witnessed around the world. Finding satisfying answers and solutions requires a close look at the personal backgrounds and mindsets of young jihadists, but also at their socio-economic environment and communities that are often located in the heart of Western capitals. Peter Neumann, a former journalist and Professor of Security Studies at King’s College London, is one of the foremost scholars of the phenomenon of religious radicalisation and the effects of terrorist attacks on our societies. From interviewing ISIS fighters to studying hundreds of social media profiles by militant religious groups, his team is gathering deep insights into the driving forces behind radicalisation. In the context of the recent attacks in France, Belgium and Germany, Peter has informed policy-makers and public opinion on the motivations of lone wolves on the internet, the structure of terror cells, as well as on national and communal prevention and de-radicalisation strategies. At Falling Walls, he speaks about the system and the people behind terrorism and explains what democracies can do to deal with the violence brought upon their citizens.

Peter Neumann is Professor of Security Studies at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, and has served as Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation since its foundation in early 2008. A renowned expert in terrorism and political violence, the former journalist has led various research projects and written influential policy reports about issues such as online radicalization, prison-based de-radicalization programs, and terrorist recruitment in Europe.

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