International Journal of Small Economies

an International peer-reviewed academic journal on public policy in small economies and nations, island nations and developing countries

From Crisis to Crisis: Choice and Decision Making in Violent Jihadism


Vol. 06, No. 01, Year 2021, Pages 1-15


The intensification of radicalism poses a threat to not only the international order, but can also disrupt the lives of a small island nation. The increasing radicalism and extremism, leading to a mounting number of people joining Jihadist networks and causing terror have never been so alarming. Beginning with an examination of the roots and trends of violent extremism in the Maldives, the paper traces reasons, ideologies and motivations that lie behind individual and social aspects of choice and decision making in violent Jihadism. In contrast to the dominant view that committing to Jihadism is due to an unconscious decision affected by indoctrination, the paper argues that Jihadism is a bounded rational decision followed by a suboptimal choice. In this decision and choice making, social and individual circumstances become a catalyst for the ideas of radicalism. The paper explores concepts, suggesting a composite theoretical model that signifies the cyclical relationship between rehabilitation, repeated offence and radical transformation. The significance of upheavals, coping mechanisms and reintegration to the society then lies in an unintended consequence of acquiring bounded information, driven by a subterfuge image and persona influence fuelled radical transformation. The paper highlights common misinterpretations used in defining Jihadism and the significance of systematic failure in addressing rehabilitation and reintegration issues in the society, shaping the current trajectory of the threat.

Key words: Jihadism, terrorism, violent, extremism, radicalism, Salafism, Islamism, fundamentalism

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Aishath Shafina

Vol. 06, No. 01, Year 2021, Pages 1-15

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