Why Foreign Fighters Come from Francophone Countries | Foreign Affairs

Interesting take by William McCants and Christopher Meserole (thanks to those who brought it to my attention), and another indicator of the failure of the French (and Belgian) models of integration (and in the case of France, laïcité):

As with the Francophone finding overall, we’re left with guesswork as to why exactly the relationships between French politics, urbanization, youth unemployment, and Sunni militancy exist. We suspect that when there are large numbers of unemployed youth, some of them are bound to get up to mischief. When they live in large cities, they have more opportunities to connect with people espousing radical causes. And when those cities are in Francophone countries that adopt the strident French approach to secularism, Sunni radicalism is more appealing.

For now, the relationship needs to be studied and tested by comparing several cases in countries and between countries. We also found other interesting relationships—such as between Sunni violence and prior civil conflict—but they are neither as strong nor as compelling.

Regardless, the latest attacks in Belgium are reason enough to share the initial findings. They may be way off, but at least they are based on the best available data. If the data is wrong or our interpretations skewed, we hope the effort will lead to more rigorous explanations of what is driving jihadist terrorism in Europe. Our initial findings should in no way imply that Francophone countries are responsible for the recent horrible attacks—no country deserves to have its civilians killed, regardless of the perpetrator’s motives. But the magnitude of the violence and the fear it engenders demand that we investigate those motives beyond just the standard boilerplate explanations.

Source: Why Foreign Fighters Come from Francophone Countries | Foreign Affairs

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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