Since March 2013, the news has been dominated by young Muslims from European countries leaving for Syria to join the armed struggle against the Assad regime. This is especially remarkable in light of the fact that it would appear that, until very recently, European foreign fighters were few and far between. The armed struggle is a topic that is widely discussed among young Muslims on social media such as Facebook. During the research on which this article is based, I analyzed conversations between young Muslims on Facebook and also conducted interviews with a number of them. The key question was: Why is it that so many young people use social media to profess their willingness to sacrifice their lives in armed struggle while at the same time most of them are not prepared to turn their words into deeds? Despite all the media reports, the fact remains that of the large number of young Muslims who are potentially ready to go into battle, the vast majority prefer to stay at home for the time being. When I confronted the participants in these discussions with this inconsistency they offered a number of reasons as to why martyrdom was not yet granted to them. The way in which these considerations shape their lives and the role played by their religious convictions form the subject of this article.
Van San, Marion. 2015. "Striving in the Way of God: Justifying Jihad by Young Belgian and Dutch Muslims." Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 38 (March): 328-342. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1057610X.2015.1013776