Islamic radicalization and adolescents



Islamic radicalization and adolescents


Preliminary Title: Radicalizations and adolescents

I have been employed for the past 19 years as a non-teaching (P.N.E.) and high school teacher at Cavelier-De LaSalle in the Marguerite-Bourgeoys school board. I have earned both a B.A. in Theological Studies and Education as well as a M.A. in Philosophy of Religion from Concordia University. My work at Cavelier-De LaSalle in the last couple of years has led to the creation (at the request of my principal) of an underground committee with the responsibility of monitoring and examining potential conversion and radicalization to Islamist ideology among our students. I quickly realized to my dismay, how powerful social media platforms were used to recruit adolescents. In direct liaison with the provincial government, more specifically M. Poeti who has endorsed my research project as well as the school board, I have requested a three-year leave with pay to study full-time. The provincial government and the school board have both officially accepted my request, provided I return to work once my PHD is completed. Please note that I have already been accepted at Université de Montreal, but after having spoken with Dr. André Gagne, I am convinced that the best option for me to complete my research is to apply to the Individualized program. The opportunity of working with researchers from various disciplines and methodologies is what appeals to me the most. I am also aware that tackling the issue of radicalization among high school youth clearly requires an interdisciplinary approach.

Our present school board and high schools do not currently provide the necessary conceptual framework to counter radicalization leading to criminality and violent extremism. The threat of foreign terrorist organizations targeting our youth through ICT internet communication technology to communicate their ideological views has clearly been overlooked. In order to counter violent extremism we need to be informed about the radicalization processes involved about our youth altering their beliefs systems.

Problem: Radicalization, de-radicalization, and counter-radicalization have become increasingly important themes, particularly in relation to Islamist extremist; even though they have a longer history beyond this more recent form, especially with reference to violent New Religious Movements in the latter half of the twentieth century. What theoretical concepts do we use to understand the transition to violence in an individual or group, and what is the role of religion in this trajectory.

Objectives of this doctoral research:

  • Develop a scholarly analysis and comprehensive insight as to how intervention should be used within the context of a preventive and counter-radicalization strategy in a high school milieu.


  • Build an intervention and prevention high school youth program model to disengage radicalized individuals whose expression of extremist ideology involves committing violent acts.


  • Bridge a scholarly analysis to community-driven (local non-government organizations) and government (police and other government ministries such as education) initiatives, in order to create the best policies and practices in preventing radicalization among high school youth.


Key terms in our approach: Extremism, religion, radicalization, youth intervention, prevention

Methodology: My methodological will be Interdisciplinary. My doctoral project PHD will need guidance and supervision of a broader range of experts of other disciplines. The fields of study will be: Theology/Religion; Education; behavior psychology; in constructing a method rational choice theory and religion in Education from conversion and behaviour models to examine adolescent behaviour in the radicalization process.


Fields of study:

Supervision by Dr. André Gagné in the fields of Theological Studies and Religion with the goal of examining conversion and radicalization factors, as well as the role played by societal circumstances and individual variables such as: issues of culture, sacred texts, beliefs and practices, society and the individual in adolescent behavior. The religiously inspired propaganda used by terror groups such as IS and Al-Qaeda on social media platforms will also be studied in order to better comprehend the construction of extremist identity of certain young people.

Supervision by Dr. Vivek Venkatesh in Education. The purpose is to examine current preventive methods of countering radicalization among adolescents within the education milieu – high school from secondary 1 to 5, and to develop a youth program to support preventive pedagogical needs, aimed at tackling the causes of extremism and youth radicalization.

Supervision to be determined



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