While the Covid-19 pandemic has had limited impact on pre-existing trends of terrorist violence in conflict zones – where activities carried out by IS and Al-Qaeda affiliates have continued – it has led to the emergence of new terrorist trends bound to influence the current threat landscape in both conflict and non-conflict areas. Jihadist terrorist groups have sought to harness pandemic-related socio-economic grievances and political tensions to strengthen their online propaganda, extend influence and recruit new militants. Against this backdrop, and despite an overall decrease in terrorist activities in both Europe and the MENA region over the last few years, jihadist extremism and radicalization remain key challenges to the Mediterranean region.
To what extent has the covid-19 pandemic exacerbated structural challenges and created a fertile ground for new radicalization pathways in the two shores of the Mediterranean? How has it impacted the implementation of counter-radicalization policies in the MENA area and the EU alike? Within the evolving landscape of the area, what new threats have emerged that may pose bigger challenges or barriers to the de-radicalization of individuals? What role does the digital space play in attracting individuals to jihadist violent extremism, and how effective can it be as a tool to curb recruitment and build alternative narratives?
Emna Ben Arab, Assistant Professor, University of Sfax
Julie Coleman, Head of the Prevention/Countering Violent Extremism Programme, International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT)
Antonio Giustozzi, Associate Research Fellow, Radicalization and International Terrorism, ISPI
Gilles Kepel, Professor, PSL Paris Sciences et Lettres, École Normale Supérieure; Università della Svizzera italiana (USI)
Chiara Sulmoni, Co-Founder and President, START InSight; Co-Director, ReaCT