Radicalism in Egypt has both escalated and deescalated over the five years since the revolution broke out on 25 January 2011. Among Egyptians who have turned to violence – whether temporarily or for good – the areas of North Sinai have been a primary stage for conflict within the country while abroad, Syria is the closest foreign theatre. Indeed, since the Syrian revolution turned into a civil war, it has become a key destination for those who have turned to violence. However, the decision to join a radicalised group is neither obviously ideological, nor does it necessarily lead to individuals to themselves take up arms. On the contrary, exploring the narratives of young Egyptians who have become radicalised demonstrates differences between those who have chosen violence and those who have been only ideologically encouraged, and explains why this is expressed differently at home and abroad.
The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.