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Public Policy and Administration


Heather Mbaye


Over the past 5 years, a number of U.S. citizens residing in Minneapolis have been reported to have been recruited and radicalized by Al-Shabaab, organization that has played a role in major international terrorist attacks. This, in turn, creates a significant concern related to national security in the United States. Using Hirsch's social bond theory and Merton's theory of relative depravation, the purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore the factors that motivate radicalization of young males aged 18 to 25 in Minneapolis. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 6 Somali American adults between the ages of 18 to 25 years old and 6 Somali American community leaders. Data were coded using Posteriori word coding and analyzed using a thematic analysis procedure. Findings indicated participants perceive that social inequality among American Somali participants contributes to motivation to radicalize. Similarly, the level of attachment and commitment to family and other social units the participants experienced played a role in the decision to radicalize or not. To deter this phenomenon, recommendations to the United States government include developing empowerment programs to provide educational and employment opportunities to American Somali communities. Both groups suggested in using media to help effect positive social change through unbiased news reporting, which does not aggravate the sense of social injustice against Muslims. By creating programs or educational campaigns against terrorism, the media can be used to educate young Somali


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