Trajectory Papers

Understanding the Jihadi Salafi threat in Jordan in 2011-2017

Moamen Gouda, Neven Bondokji and Mohamad Abu Rumman (Acadmic Advisor of Politics and Scociety Institute)

The number of Jordanian foreign fighters that joined extremist groups in Syria and Iraq since 2011 has drawn attention to the Jihadi Salafi scene in Jordan. This article examines the profiles of 780 Jihadi Salafis who were prosecuted in 2011–2017 on terrorism-related charges by the State Security Court in Jordan. The study attributes the rise of Jihadi Salafism in Jordan to socio-economic relative deprivation. The dissatisfaction of the employed and/or educated with their status explains relative deprivation, which is also an urban central phenomenon in Jordan. However, relative deprivation does not turn into radicalization unless experienced within a closely knit social network. The article concludes that Jihadi Salafism is a middle-class urban and central phenomenon in Jordan, which is likely to continue due to unaddressed frustrations, unmet identity needs, and the social network of radicals.

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