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Scandinavia’s Daughters in Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups: A Narrative Inquiry of their Relatives’ Lived Experiences and the Insight Gained from them

Aasgaard, Andrea Sjøberg LU (2016) MOSM03 20162
Centre for Middle Eastern Studies
Abstract
After the start of the Syrian civil war, the topic of Scandinavians joining Salafi-jihadi groups in the war has been high on the political agendas in the Scandinavian countries. These countries are increasingly focusing on the role of families to prevent people from joining these groups. However, research about the topic is limited, especially regarding women’s families. This thesis seeks to remedy this gap, through investigating what insight can be gained from the lived experiences of relatives of Scandinavian women who have joined Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups. It examines two issues: firstly, through investigating to what extent the relatives’ experiences reveal insights about the women’s decisions to leave. Secondly, it investigates the... (More)
After the start of the Syrian civil war, the topic of Scandinavians joining Salafi-jihadi groups in the war has been high on the political agendas in the Scandinavian countries. These countries are increasingly focusing on the role of families to prevent people from joining these groups. However, research about the topic is limited, especially regarding women’s families. This thesis seeks to remedy this gap, through investigating what insight can be gained from the lived experiences of relatives of Scandinavian women who have joined Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups. It examines two issues: firstly, through investigating to what extent the relatives’ experiences reveal insights about the women’s decisions to leave. Secondly, it investigates the role the family played. In this way, the thesis questions two paradigms regarding the role of families and violent Islamist extremism. Firstly, that family members and other secondary sources are used as witnesses in understanding why Europeans join Salafi-jihadi groups. Secondly, that the family is seen as part of the problem or part of the solution to the fact that their family members join violent Islamist extremist groups.

The thesis reveals that the relatives suffer from grief, sorrow and shock after the women joined Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups. They blame others than the women themselves for their decision to travel, and portray them as victims rather than as agents. Furthermore, the relatives have limited insight into what happened before the women travelled. Thus the thesis demonstrates that the relatives’ experiences provide limited insight into why the women joined Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups. It is therefore problematic that research increasingly uses relatives’ narratives to understand why people join Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups.

Although the relatives adopt different coping strategies to handle the situation, for instance through trying to help the women return, the thesis illustrates that the relatives should primarily be perceived as individuals in need of help. They are neither a part of the problem nor a part of the solution, but need to be approached as human beings in a complex life-situation. This knowledge is useful in the work with families who have experienced that a female family member has joined these groups. (Less)
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author
Aasgaard, Andrea Sjøberg LU
supervisor
organization
course
MOSM03 20162
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Violent Islamist extremism, foreign fighters, women, family, Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups
language
English
id
8898568
date added to LUP
2018-07-04 09:24:18
date last changed
2018-07-04 09:24:18
@misc{8898568,
  abstract     = {After the start of the Syrian civil war, the topic of Scandinavians joining Salafi-jihadi groups in the war has been high on the political agendas in the Scandinavian countries. These countries are increasingly focusing on the role of families to prevent people from joining these groups. However, research about the topic is limited, especially regarding women’s families. This thesis seeks to remedy this gap, through investigating what insight can be gained from the lived experiences of relatives of Scandinavian women who have joined Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups. It examines two issues: firstly, through investigating to what extent the relatives’ experiences reveal insights about the women’s decisions to leave. Secondly, it investigates the role the family played. In this way, the thesis questions two paradigms regarding the role of families and violent Islamist extremism. Firstly, that family members and other secondary sources are used as witnesses in understanding why Europeans join Salafi-jihadi groups. Secondly, that the family is seen as part of the problem or part of the solution to the fact that their family members join violent Islamist extremist groups.

The thesis reveals that the relatives suffer from grief, sorrow and shock after the women joined Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups. They blame others than the women themselves for their decision to travel, and portray them as victims rather than as agents. Furthermore, the relatives have limited insight into what happened before the women travelled. Thus the thesis demonstrates that the relatives’ experiences provide limited insight into why the women joined Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups. It is therefore problematic that research increasingly uses relatives’ narratives to understand why people join Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups.

Although the relatives adopt different coping strategies to handle the situation, for instance through trying to help the women return, the thesis illustrates that the relatives should primarily be perceived as individuals in need of help. They are neither a part of the problem nor a part of the solution, but need to be approached as human beings in a complex life-situation. This knowledge is useful in the work with families who have experienced that a female family member has joined these groups.},
  author       = {Aasgaard, Andrea Sjøberg},
  keyword      = {Violent Islamist extremism,foreign fighters,women,family,Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Scandinavia’s Daughters in Syrian Salafi-jihadi groups: A Narrative Inquiry of their Relatives’ Lived Experiences and the Insight Gained from them},
  year         = {2016},
}