The influences of social identity and perceptions of injustice on support to violent extremism

Wesam Charkawi (Lead / Corresponding author), Kevin Dunn, Ana-Maria Bliuc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social identity has been identified as one key contributor to violent extremism. In a survey consisting of 198 Australian Muslims, we examined the associations between social identity and perceived injustice in the political and media field and whether these are associated with susceptibility to supporting violent extremism. The study canvassed belonging, religiosity, violent dispositions, experienced racism and reported strong senses of perceived injustice, alienation and anger. Overall, the study revealed that the greater the sense of belonging and religiosity, the greater the rejection of violent dispositions against the West and its allies. The inverse of this suggests that a sense of non-belonging is associated with increased support to radicalisation. We also found that the greater the religiosity, the greater the connection to Australia and the greater the rejection of violent dispositions. Our sample reported a strong sense of perceived injustice from the political media structures, even more so among those with a greater sense of belonging to Australia. The study demonstrates that there is high opposition to acts of violent extremism despite a widely held sense of injustice, indicating strong levels of resilience among the Muslim communities in Australia and pointing to the potential virtue of multiculturalism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression
Early online date16 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Mar 2020


  • adverse political rhetoric
  • belonging
  • negative media portrayal
  • racism
  • social identity
  • terrorism
  • Violent extremism

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