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Understanding Radicalization and Engagement in Terrorism through Religious Conversion Motifs


Journal of Strategic SecurityJournal abstract

Although research into the processes and outcomes of radicalization has yielded significant discoveries regarding antecedent risk factors and the role played by societal circumstances and individual variables, research regarding the process of radical conversion remains in its infancy. We believe that the psychology of religion may hold the key to unlocking new insights into this conversion process. As a result of assessing both Lofland and Skonovd’s religious conversion motifs and Rambo’s integrative model of religious conversion, we suggest that issues of culture, society and the individual which are prevalent in first-hand accounts of conversion to terrorism provide crucial insight into the application of theories of religious conversion to the process of radicalization, and that this application is ripe for helping to further develop existing pyramid and staircase models of radicalization.

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