Western Foreign Fighters: The Threat to Homeland and International Security

2016 | Phil Gurski

What should we do with returning Canadian “foreign fighters”?

Why some people decide to abandon their homeland to join terrorist groups, and whether they pose a significant threat to their societies if they survive and return.

What should we do with returning “foreign fighters”?

A number of recent terrorist attacks were committed by young men and women who had radicalized, went to train with IS in the Middle East, then returned to their home country to commit acts of violence. In this text, Phil Gurski examines why some people decide to abandon their homeland to join terrorist groups, and whether they pose a significant threat to their societies if they survive and return. The focus is on Canadians and other Westerners who see violent Jihad as divine obligation, with the intention to challenge the view that foreign fighters are all brainwashed.

Written in an accessible manner by a reputed expert on terrorism and radicalization, the text will appeal to anyone seeking to understand why people join terrorist groups and the threats they represent to their homeland.

“Western Foreign Fighters is an important book that presents a fine contribution to an emerging field of policy concern and academic interest.”

Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression

“Phil Gurski has provided an easily accessible approach to one of the most challenging security problems of our time. 

David Malet

director of the Security Policy Studies Program, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

“Phil Gurski is uniquely qualified to write about foreign terrorist fighters and the threat they pose to Canada and the West.”

Thomas Juneau

assistant professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa

About the author Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the Program Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI) and the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd.  He worked as a senior strategic analyst at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) from 2001-2015, specializing in violent Islamist-inspired homegrown terrorism and radicalisation. He is the author of six books on terrorism.

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