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The Ties that Bind: How Terrorists Exploit Family Bonds

The Ties that Bind: How Terrorists Exploit Family Bonds


Tightening security environments are encouraging jihadis to turn increasingly to the family unit for recruits. This phenomenon complicates efforts to detect, monitor, and prevent violent radicalization. Kinship recruitment, which is difficult for security agencies to observe, is facilitated by several psychological mechanisms that bind individuals together on the path to extremism. Importantly, it deters ambivalent recruits from defecting to the authorities for fear of damaging their own valued relationships. The reliance on kinship recruitment is supplemented by greater use of social media and an emphasis on recruiting Islamic converts and women, which suggests that jihadis are adjusting their mobilization patterns to avoid detection based on previous, well-known strategies for radicalization.​

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Hafez, Mohammed M. ​2016. The Ties that Bind: How Terrorists Explot Family Bonds. CTC Sentinel.

START Author(s): 
Mohammed Hafez
Publication URL: 
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