The State Department has commissioned a study to research why Kenyan men are so drawn to terrorism. The study has a hefty budget of $600,000, with a working hypothesis that their “ideals of masculinity” are to blame.
The Department’s own Bureau of Counterterrorism is seeking a credible non-profit research organization to execute their study, and “explore gender identities of boys and men in Kenya.” Furthermore, the proposal for the grant states that the men – who are “tough, heterosexual, aggressive, unemotional, and achieving” are highly likely to become Islamic terrorists.
“Gender is increasingly recognized as an essential aspect to understanding and countering violent extremism throughout the world,” the State Department said in its proposal. “To date, research and interventions on gender in Kenya have predominantly focused on the role of women and girls in violent extremism. However, men and boys are disproportionately recruited by and join terrorist groups and carry out terrorist operations. In Kenya, there currently exists no CVE [countering violent extremism] programming dedicated to the role of gender of boys and men and vulnerability to violent extremism.”
In order to take proper remedial actions, the State Department is ready and willing to spend a staggering sum of $592,000 on a “Masculinity and Violent Extremism” study, the grant is to be awarded to any American nonprofit group or a nongovernmental organization later in 2018.
The study will focus to “determine existing knowledge and gaps on male gender and violent extremism as well as explore gender identities of boys and men in Kenya.”
The grant proposal also blames Kenya and its “patriarchal” society of the “tough, heterosexual” men for all the problems faced by the developing country.
“In Kenya, boys and men are disproportionately recruited by al-Shabaab and more likely to be both operators and victims of terrorist acts,” the State Department had said. “Kenyan society, while diverse in its ethnic and cultural composition, is uniformly patriarchal and highly prescriptive of gender expressions and identities.”
“Kenyan males are expected to head the household as well as provide for, protect, and maintain the family,” the department continued. “Socially, males are expected to be tough, heterosexual, aggressive, unemotional, and achieving. The practical and social pressures to fulfill these expectations can be immense and create vulnerabilities that are exploited by violent extremist groups who appeal to these characteristics and offer the opportunity to fulfil [sic] these roles.”
The State Department further added that the research would be involving fathers and all the community leaders in Kenya, in attempts and hopes to “shape existing cultural narratives on masculinity, gender, and violent extremism. Funds will support male-to-male dialogue and training on issues of gender and encourage stronger social and familial support structures.”