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  • Author: Edoardo Corradi x
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Abstract

This paper aims to shed new light on the phenomenon of Islamist violent extremism across the Western Balkans. This phenomenon has recently drawn worldwide attention due to the risk that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has raised as an international actor. The main theoretical argument is that the main driver of foreign fighters aligns with the Roy theory about the “Islamization of radicalism”. So far, academic literature on Islamist terrorism has often considered the Western Balkan region as the one with the highest percentage of foreign fighters. Notwithstanding this being correct, such analysis seems superficial, since it misrepresents the image of the region itself. In this paper, the countries taken into account are those with a high percentage of Muslim population (e.g. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo) and with a large Muslim autochthonous minority group (e.g. the Republic of North Macedonia). The comparison of the estimates of foreign fighters in Syria from the Western Balkans with data from several sources led us to understand the existence of a precise narrative towards the region and the Islamist religion.