Ahmed Khudair Hussein Ayal
This study sheds light on the phenomenon of extremism, which is one of the most significant social phenomena to witness growth as a result of the upheavals that shook the infrastructure of Iraqi society after the fall of the regime in 2003 and impacted on its security and stability.
If we consider the political, religious, social, economic and other aspects of society that have undergone change, we find that their overlap has created a crisis that has affected mainstream culture, educational systems, the media, family nurturing and the religious establishment. This in turn has compromised the development of the individual’s values and choices, as well as his social awareness in terms of its economic, political and social dimensions and negatively affected most of the personal aspects of the individual. This shook his confidence in his beliefs and values; and this in turn led to frustration and a feeling of loss and the inability to satisfy his basic needs on which depend the continuity of life and survival.
The problem which the current study addresses concerns the dangers associated with the radicalisation of certain young people in their ideas, opinions and attitudes towards certain social, political and religious issues because they are the most socially susceptible class and at an age characterized by energy, vigour and strong desire. This study poses a fundamental question and seeks answers about the shifting attitudes of youth towards extremism in Iraq. The question has a sub-text regarding: what do we mean by extremism? What factors have helped its growth? And how has it influenced young people?
This paper aims to identify the differences between university students regarding the nature of their attitudes towards extremism according to the following variables: age, gender, academic discipline or specialism and university; and to shed light on the causes responsible for extremism and its impact on young people.