Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Melissa Graves

Relational Format



Islamic radicalization in European countries is becoming more and more prevalent, as evidenced by the number of recent attacks by Muslims in Europe. I argue that the social, religious, and psychological environment in France creates a unique opportunity for Islamic radicalization, particularly through social media and in prisons. After defining radicalization and explaining two radicalization processes as well as different types of radicals, I analyze the specific factors present in France that contribute to this radicalization. I use case study analysis to examine several French citizens who radicalized, either online or in prison, in order to show how the recruiter exacerbated the situation in France. Additionally, I evaluate primary sources from the Islamic State and the Levant, in order to show how it capitalizes on certain aspects of French society, such as the discriminatory laws banning the burka. I also apply both theories of radicalization, and analyze which one matches the processes found in the case studies and primary sources. My findings support my hypothesis that France is a unique case where Islamic radicalization is more easily achieved, and that the presence of a mentor is crucial in the radicalization process.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Accessibility Status

Searchable text



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.