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A history of the Hofstadgroup


Authors: Schuurman, B., Eijkman, Q. & Bakker, E.

Date of Publication: 2014

Publication: Perspectives on Terrorism 8, no. 3 (2014): 65-81


Purpose of the study

Key questions 

The study gives a description of the lifespan of the Hofstadgroup (2002-2005) based on primary sources.

Design of the study


The study is empirical


The Netherlands


This study is about mobilization/radicalization to Islamic terrorism. Gives a historical social context to understand mobilization/group formation.

Key findings 

The study provides insights into the groups organizational characteristics. Initial group formation appears to have been based primarily on pre-existing social bonds. Participants had grown up in the same neighbourhoods, attended the same schools, mosques. Involvement in the group could take a variety of forms. On the whole the group did very little that had any direct bearing on preparations for terrorism. Only a small inner circle of extremist participants showed signs of interest in conducting an attack or joining jihadist insurgents overseas.

Key recommendations 

The study highlights the importance of keeping in mind that involvement and the processes that precedes it was distinctly heterogeneous in nature. An important question not answered is: what distinguishes those who plan or perpetrates acts of terrorism from those who do not (and who still can be considered as group-members)?

Reviewer's Notes

Key words: radicalization, group dynamics, mobilization, The Netherlands

The study is about both those inspired to attack on home soil, and those that were part of a “circle of acquaintances”.

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