On Tuesday, a 17-year old boy was convicted of planning a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom. Police found documents containing a plan to commit arson against synagogues, as well as far-right literature, in his bedroom. He was sentenced to six years and eight months in custody.
Over the years, I have studied why young people voluntarily join terrorist organisations, or become committed to a violent extremist ideology. These cases are very different from youth who are abducted in areas of conflict, in refugee camps or other areas. It is clear that a greater sense of agency and intent, as well forethought and research, goes into decisions made by teenagers who choose to commit crimes such as joining or assisting a terrorist group. Similar to gangs, it is children themselves who operate in groups and encourage each other, often providing material support and logistical planning among themselves.
Read the full article in Forbes