Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Radicalisation Related Abstracts

4 The Radicalization of Islam in the Syrian Conflict: A Systematic Review from the Interreligious Dialogue Perspective

Authors: Cosette Maiky


Seven years have passed since the crisis erupted and the list of challenges to peacebuilding and interreligious dialogue is still growing ever more discouraging: Violence, displacement, sectarianism, discrimination, radicalisation, fragmentation, and collapse of various social and economic infrastructure have notoriously plagued the war-torn country. As the situation in Syria and neighbouring countries is still creating a real concern about the future of the social cohesion and the coexistence in the region, in her function as Field Expert on Arab Countries at King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, the author shall present a systematic review paper that focuses on the radicalization of Islam in Syria. The exercise was based on a series of research questions that guided both the review of literature as well as the interviews. Their relative meaningfulness shall be assessed and trade-offs discussed in each case to ensure that key questions were addressed and to avoid unnecessary effort. There was an element of flexibility, as the assessment progressed, to further provide and inject additional generic questions. The main sources for the information were: Documents and literature with a direct bearing on the issues of relevance collected in all available formats and information collected through key informant interviews. This latter was particularly helpful to understand what some of the capacity constraints are, as well as the gaps, enablers and barriers. Respondents were selected among those who are engaged in IRD activities clearly linked to peacebuilding (i.e. religious leaders, leaders in religious communities, peace actors, religious actors, conflict parties, minority groups, women initiatives, youth initiatives, civil society organizations, academia, etc.), with relevant professional qualifications and work experience. During the research process, the Consultant carefully took account of sensitivities around terminologies as well as a highly insecure and dynamic context. The Consultant (Arabic native speaker), therefore, adapted terminologies while conducting interviews according to the area and respondent. Findings revealed: the deep ideological polarization and lack of trust dividing communities and preventing meaningful dialogue opportunities; the challenge of prioritizing IRD and peacebuilding work in the context of such a severe humanitarian crisis facing the country; the need to engage religious leaders and institutions in peacebuilding processes and initiatives, the need to have institutions with specific IRD mandate, which can have a sustainable influence on peace through various levels of interventions (from grassroots level to policy and research), and lastly, the need to address stigma in media representation of Muslims and Islam. While religion and religious agendas have been massively used for political issues and power play in the Middle East – and elsewhere, more extensive policy and research efforts are needed to highlight the positive role of religion and religious actors in dialogue and peacebuilding processes.

Keywords: Islam, Conflict, Radicalisation, Syria

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3 Psychosocial Processes and Strategies behind Islamic Deradicalisation: A Scoping Review

Authors: Carvalho M. Catia, Pinto R. Isabel, Azevedo F. Luis, Guerreiro, T. Alexandre, Barbosa R. Mariana, Pinto S. Marta


Due to the loss of territory, foreign terrorist fighters who have joined Islamic State are returning to their home countries. In order to counter this threat to international security, it is important to implement deradicalisation programmes, through strategies and processes that can reverse radicalisation. The objectives of this scoping review - which is underway - are to provide a comprehensive overview of the programmes being implemented, its main characteristics, the main motives and processes leading to deradicalisation, and to identify the key findings and the existing gaps in the literature. The methodology to be implemented in this scoping review follows the guidelines proposed by Arksey and O’Malley and by The Joanna Briggs Institute. The main results will be the development of a synthesis map of the deradicalisation programmes existing in the world, its main features, and recommendations to policy-makers and professionals.

Keywords: Terrorism, Radicalisation, deradicalisation strategies, psychosocial processes

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2 Preventing Violent Extremism in Mozambique and Tanzania: A Survey to Measure Community Resilience

Authors: L. Freeman, D. Bax, V. K. Sapong


Community-based, preventative approaches to violent extremism may be effective and yet remain an underutilised method. In a realm where security approaches dominate, with the focus on countering violence extremism and combatting radicalisation, community resilience programming remains sparse. This paper will present a survey tool that aims to measure the risk and protective factors that can lead to violent extremism in Mozambique and Tanzania. Conducted in four districts in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique and one district in Pwani, Tanzania, the survey uses a combination of BRAVE-14, Afrocentric and context-specific questions in order to more fully understand community resilience opportunities and challenges in preventing and countering violent extremism. Developed in Australia and Canada to measure radicalisation risks in individuals and communities, BRAVE-14 is a tool not yet applied in the African continent. Given the emerging threat of Islamic extremism in Northern Mozambique and Eastern Tanzania, which both experience a combination of socio-political exclusion, resource marginalisation and religious/ideological motivations, the development of the survey is timely and fills a much-needed information gap in these regions. Not only have these Islamist groups succeeded in tapping into the grievances of communities by radicalising and recruiting individuals, but their presence in these regions has been characterised by extreme forms of violence, leaving isolated communities vulnerable to attack. The expected result of these findings will facilitate the contextualisation and comparison of the protective and risk factors that inhibit or promote the radicalisation of the youth in these communities. In identifying sources of resilience and vulnerability, this study emphasises the implementation of context-specific intervention programming and provides a strong research tool for understanding youth and community resilience to violent extremism.

Keywords: Radicalisation, Community Resilience, Tanzania, Mozambique, preventing violent extremism

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1 A Critical Discourse Analysis of ‘Youth Radicalisation’: A Case of the Daily Nation Kenya Online Newspaper

Authors: Miraji H. Mohamed


The purpose of this study is to critique ‘radicalisation’ and more particularly ‘youth radicalisation’ by exploring its usage in online newspapers. ‘Radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ have become the most common terms in terrorism studies since the 9/11 attacks. Regardless of the geographic location, when the word terrorism is used the terms ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ always follow to attempt to explore the journey of the perpetrators towards violence. These terms have come to represent a discourse of dominantly pejorative traits often used to describe spaces, groups, and processes identified as problematic. Even though ambiguously defined they feature widely in government documents, political statements, news articles, academic research, social media platforms, religious gatherings, and public discussions. Notably, ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ have been closely conflated with the term youth to form ‘youth radicalisation’ to refer to a discourse of ‘youth at risk’. The three terms largely continue to be used unquestioningly and interchangeably hence the reason why they are placed in single quotation marks to deliberately question their conventional usage. Albeit this comes timely in the Kenyan context where there has been a proliferation of academic and expert research on ‘youth radicalisation’ (used as a neutral label) without considering the political, cultural and socio-historical contexts that inform this label. This study seeks to draw these nuances by employing a genealogical approach that historicises and deconstructs ‘youth radicalisation’; and by applying a Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) of Critical Discourse Analysis to analyse Kenyan online newspaper - The Daily Nation between 2015 and 2018. By applying the concept of representation to analyse written texts, the study reveals that the use of ‘youth radicalisation’ as a discursive strategy disproportionately affects young people especially those from cultural/ethnic/religious minority groups. Also, the ambiguous use of ‘radicalisation’ and ‘youth radicalisation’ by the media reinforces the discourse of ‘youth at risk’ which has become the major framework underpinning Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) interventions. Similarly, the findings indicate that the uncritical use of ‘youth radicalisation’ has been used to serve political interests; and has become an instrument of policing young people, thus contributing to their cultural shaping. From this, it is evident that the media could thwart rather than assist CVE efforts. By exposing the political nature of the three terms through evidence-based research, this study offers recommendations on how critical reflective reporting by the media could help to make CVE more nuanced.

Keywords: Terrorism, Youth, discourse, Extremism, Radicalisation

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