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Radicalisation in the Philippines: The Cotabato Cell of the “East Asia Wilayah”


Terrorism and Political ViolenceJournal abstract

The backgrounds of seven suspects arrested in connection with a September 2016 bombing in Davao, Philippines provide clues to how extremist ideology and support for ISIS took root in a middle-class urban environment. The seven men, part of the coalition that eventually took over Marawi in 2017, were drawn in by the idea of a caliphate, propaganda videos that became discussion material for charismatic young religious scholars, and the pull of friends and family. They represented overlapping networks of neighbours, business partners, and students. Their interwoven journeys to violent extremism provide a glimpse into how ISIS managed to transcend traditional clan and regional loyalties in the Philippines, but much more research is needed among pro-ISIS detainees to understand the phenomenon and take measures to address it.

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