Awan to speak at University of Catania on Foreign Fighters, Social Media and Insecurity Complexes

Akil Awan will be speaking at the 3rd ReSHAPE Workshop on Insecurity Complexes: The Response of the EU and Member States, held at the University of Catania, Sicily, 11-12th June, and organised by the Dept. of Political and Social Science.

Last year, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2178 on Foreign Terrorist Fighters establishing an international legal framework to help prevent the recruitment and transport of would-be foreign fighters from joining terrorist groups. Unsurprising, considering the alarming growth of IS, which has attracted around 22,000 foreign fighters from every corner of the globe, willing to fight and die for its nascent Caliphate.

Many EU countries have scrambled to instate strategies for dealing with not just the recruitment of fighters - both over social media and in the 'real' world, as well as the inevitable influx of returnees once the conflict is over. Fighters returning from the front lines, brutalized by the ravages of war and potentially suffering from PTSD, may prove incapable of easily slipping back into normal society. With the rise of terrorist attacks in France and Belgium by returnee fighters, they may also pose a grave and sustained threat to their own host countries.

Awan's paper will focus on how EU member states might deal with their errant sons, who choose to return home, particularly as the policy options, ranging from removing citizenship to imprisonment, or deradicalization, are unlikely to catch every potential threat. Awan will delineate the contours of the problem and gauges the effectiveness of some of the policy responses on the table, addressing how we might best respond, as it appears the EU will be living with the insecurity complex generated by the 'Returnee Foreign Fighter' phenomenon for many years to come.

The full programme can be seen here