Ebook: Countering Radicalisation and Violent Extremism Among Youth to Prevent Terrorism
Although violent extremism is not a new phenomenon, it is increasingly recognized as a major challenge of our times. The recruitment of foreign fighters by extremist organizations, and its potential impact on public safety in the countries from which they come, is also emerging as a complex issue at the forefront of international preoccupations.
This book presents the proceedings of the three day NATO Advanced Research Workshop, "Countering Violent Extremism Among Youth to Prevent Terrorism", held in Milan, Italy, in June 2014.
The best way to respond to violent extremism in general, and the radicalization of disaffected youth in particular, is far from clear, but the stakes are so high and the potential threat to countries worldwide so great that inaction is not an option. The goal of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of policymakers and practitioners to design strategies that will achieve verifiable human-rights based outcomes to counter violent extremism.
Subjects covered in the 19 papers which go to make up this book include: the causes or drivers of violent extremism; the factors which facilitate the recruitment of youth by violent extremist groups; the risk of growing Islamophobia in some Western and Central European countries; and proactive measures to counter the radicalization of youth.
The book will be of interest to all those involved in policy development, prevention programs, de-radicalization programs or research aimed at countering violent extremism and the radicalization of young people.
Violent extremism, although not a new phenomenon, is increasingly recognized as a main challenge of our times. The issue is complex and our usual theoretical premises and assumptions often prove incomplete or deficient. The best way to respond to this global phenomenon as it now presents itself is far from obvious. Yet, inaction would be both foolish and intolerable. The stakes are important and the dangers associated with violent extremism potentially threaten every country or community.
It was against this ominous and foreboding background and amidst feelings of urgency and uncertainty that the Catholic University of Milan, Italian Team for Security, Terrorist Issues & Managing Emergencies, (ITSTIME), in co-operation with the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Egypt, organized a three day Advanced Research Workshop in Milan, in June 2014, on “Countering Violent Extremism among Youth to Prevent Terrorism”. The very timely event was supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. The programme aimed, among other things, to facilitate the scientific exchange of validated evidence on how to respond more effectively to the threat of violent extremism-led terrorism. The goal was to enhance the capacity of policy makers and practitioners to design strategies that will achieve verifiable human-rights based counter-violent extremism outcomes.
This book brings together nineteen papers presented and discussed during the workshop by researchers and practitioners from around the world. Some of the evidence presented in the papers remains tentative due to the complexity of the issues and their rapidly evolving nature. The conclusions and findings suggest that continued scientific discussion are needed. The papers add new information to the scientific debate as well as provide innovative ways of addressing violent-extremism and terrorism issues. Readers, whether they are involved in policy development, prevention programme, de-radicalization programmes, or research, will benefit from the papers and the rigorous discussions and debate they reflect.
Papers which offer a more general discussion of the issues and the research to date are presented first. They are followed by a rich set of “notes from the field”, so to speak, that provide timely and useful analyses of the issue as it presents itself in various countries. Published critical information of that nature is still relatively rare and bringing it together in one book will undoubtedly facilitate its analysis and dissemination.
The reader will notice that, even if the workshop initially focussed on a somewhat narrower aspect of violent extremism, terrorism, the papers and the discussion quickly evolved to consider the emerging and puzzling issue of the recruitment of young people to join conflicts and jihads as fighters. This particular aspect of violent extremism was already gaining international attention at the time of the workshop, due in part to the activities of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. That specific situation has since then continued to preoccupy the international community and, in particular, policy makers and security officials in countries in which foreign fighters are recruited and sometimes return. Responses to this particular security threat are rapidly evolving, sometimes in ways that were not totally anticipated during the workshop. There is for example, various attempts to restrain the international movement of these would be fighters and, in some cases, to prevent them from returning to their country of origin. There are of course many unanswered questions about the effects and even potentially detrimental impact of many of these new approaches. However, the reader will find in the following chapters many suggestions which remain as valid as ever.
Protracted political crises and instability are key drivers of violent extremism. Conflicts such as those occurring in MENA countries continue to attract youth from abroad for what they see as a defensive jihad. Foreign fighters and mercenaries who move from one conflict zone to another are also perceived as threat by their own country. In NATO countries, for example, there is a serious worry that returnees from battlefields of the jihad pose a threat in their own country, as they actively recruit other youths and possibly engage them in local terrorist attacks. The exact nature of the threat that these so-called “foreign fighters” actually represents in their country of origin is not yet fully understood. There is an element of panic involved and some fears may be exaggerated. Nonetheless, inaction would come at too high a risk and science must urgently be pressed into service to offer dispassionate analyses to mitigate the risk of violent extremism. In fact, a very recent United Nations Security Council resolution requires Member States to prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of individuals who travel to a State other than their State of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, and the financing of their travel and of their activities.
As expected, part of workshop focused on the causes or drivers of violent extremism and the factors which facilitate the recruitment of youth by violent extremist groups. This important discussion is reflected in many of the following chapters. Real grievances of populations for which extremists claim to speak too often remain unaddressed and unresolved. For example, in the Syrian crisis, young people from more than 80 countries have become involved who are driven by a feeling of injustice, a humanitarian impulse, an ideology or misleading information about the nature of the conflict. In many instances, post-conflict reconciliation and peace building measures proved totally ineffectual and old grievances still provide a way for individuals and groups to rationalize their recourse to violence. In truth, there are many ways in which conflicts, violence, oppression, corruption, the illegitimate and abusive exercise of power, perceived enmities and historical grievances can fuel the indignation of young adults and provide them with a convenient rationalization for violent extremism. Whether this process in rapped in a religious, political or other ideology is often just one of the many variables that must be taken into account.
The need for proactive measures to counter the radicalization of youth has led to several prevention programmes, including many which attempted to craft and communicate effective counter-narratives tailored to weaken and discredit the violent extremist messages and recruitment efforts. The experience to date emphasizes the important role that must be played in that regard by civil society and communities. These initiatives predictably had varying and sometimes disappointing results, but the reader will find in the present collection of papers quite a few suggestions about how to improve existing approaches. At the same time, the workshop served to emphasize the pressing need for systematic evaluations of the impact of prevention measures, including their potential detrimental and unintended effects on individuals and communities.
Collectively, participants in the workshop acknowledged that there is a risk of growing Islamophobia in some West- and Central European countries facing immediate threats. They also deplored the vast amount of improvisation which has all too often led to problematic policies and, in some instances, have unnecessarily stigmatized whole communities. The collateral damages resulting from ill-advised counter-radicalization policies must absolutely be avoided since they tend to turn into additional sources of grievance and drivers of radical extremism.
In the first chapter, Emilio Viano directly launches the discussion by asking whether a balanced response to violence extremism is even possible. He offers a critique of the response of Western countries to the violent extremist threat in general and more specifically to the problem of the recruitment of new followers by extremist groups. The author warns against the errors, excesses and missteps that not only hinders prevention efforts, but also makes them counterproductive.
In the same vein, a paper by Vivienne Chin on the collateral damage of counter-terrorism measures deplores the fact that too little attention is given to the unintended consequences of counter-radicalization and counter-terrorism measures on various vulnerable groups. This, she argues, is partly the result of a tendency to look at terrorism and violent extremism predominantly as a national security rather than a human security issue. She asks whether the further marginalization and stigmatization of vulnerable groups is an inevitable consequence of our prevention measures. Her paper considers some of the available research on effective strategies, including broad inclusion programmes, to protect and support vulnerable groups whose youth is at a higher risk of being indoctrinated and recruited by violent extremists.
The theme of social inclusion is taken up again by Yvon Dandurand in his paper on social inclusion programmes for youth as a means to prevent violent extremism. He explores the possible applications of evidence-based gang recruitment prevention, gang desistence and youth inclusion programmes to prevent violent extremism and break the pathways to crime and violence. He argues that the focus of prevention efforts should be on the recruitment process rather than on the radicalization aspect. He asks whether extremist violent ideologies are not most often adopted as a consequence rather than as a precursor to joining an extremist or criminal group.
On the question of recruitment, Louise Shelley discusses how youth who live in an environment with extremely high levels of corruption are particularly vulnerable to recruitment into violent extremism. She notes how terrorists make use of an anti-corruption discourse for recruitment purposes, particularly in countries with the poorest ratings in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. Corruption provides an incubator for both organized crime and terrorism, as it is at the core of failed economic development, widening economic disparity and political injustices.
Valerio de Divitiis, in his paper on the promises of the concept of human security as a means to address the terrorism-related threats, suggests that a commitment to human rights and broad human security objectives is the most promising basis upon which to attempt to prevent the recruitment and radicalization of vulnerable segments of the population. The direct relevance to terrorism prevention of the human dimension of security is becoming increasingly clear. He argues that proactive and constructive measures are necessary to immunize certain segments of society against the appeal of violent extremism.
Alessandro Burato also offers a discussion of a broad approach to prevention of violent radicalization. His paper discusses the applicability of a crisis management model to the prevention of violence, radicalization, extremism and terrorism. It emphasizes the crucial importance of risk communication in broadening our approaches and providing a basis for crisis management and more effective prevention strategies.
In recent years, policy-makers and academics in the West have focused on the need to provide an effective counter-narrative to the global jihadist movement. At the same time, Many Muslim interventionists working in de-radicalization programmes in community and custodial environments believe that challenging the perceived religious authenticity of the global jihad narrative is integral to their work. A paper by Hannah Stuart focuses on the ideological drivers behind the jihadist worldview and narrative. Jihadist groups claim that their violent actions are supported within the four traditional schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, and that Islam itself mandates a jihadist view of scripture. Stuart's paper counters their theological claims by demonstrating that their arguments are not based on traditionally recognised interpretations of Islamic sources and are antithetical to the normative values displayed within classical Sunni jurisprudence.
The following two chapters focus on regional analyses of the phenomenon. The first one, by Marco Lombardi of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Milan, offers a discussion of the conflicting situation that the Euro-Mediterranean region is facing with the Islamic world. That development, he suggests, requires greater attention. The author engages the reader in a discussion of the paths to radicalization in their historic context. The political background and, in particular, the limits impose on political expression have contributed to that path. The situation in the region is a complex one and, to date, responses to the growing radicalization of certain individuals and their aggressive recruitment into extremist groups have largely remained ineffectual. The second chapter, by Eman Ragab of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Egypt, examines the challenges of countering terrorism in the Middle East after the Arab Revolutions. The Arab Spring, she observes, has transformed the nature of the threat and generated new patterns of terrorism. Regional cooperation in the fight against extremist violence and terrorism is more important than ever. Her paper outlines three main challenges confronting regional cooperation in the Middle East and argues in favour of strengthened regional cooperation mechanisms.
Mark Sedgwick assesses the success of a popular counter-radicalization strategy which essentially consisted of supporting Sufis as alternatives to Salafis. Four concrete examples are considered by Sedgwick who concludes that the approach has generally been unsuccessful.
Daniel Koehler, of the Institute for the Study of Radical Movements, explores the theoretical background and state of research in regard to de-radicalization and disengagement programmes as counter-terrorism and prevention tools against violent radicalization leading to terrorism. He discusses how the theory might work in practice and offers some insights gathered from two of the world's most successful programmes and: EXIT-Germany (counselling highly radicalized individuals wanting to leave the German extreme right-wing scene) and HAYAT (a German family counselling programme for the relatives of Jihadists and Foreign Fighters, as well as of individuals on the path of non-violent radicalization).
Ivo Veenkamp and Sara Zeiger, of Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) note how the focus of international and national strategies for countering terrorism in the past decade has shifted from using hard security measures alone to combat terrorism, to a more multi-sectoral, comprehensive approach, which also includes more preventive strategies known as countering violent extremism. They explain that current programs and policies that are emerging both out of the United Nations, the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, Hedayah and the broader international community are based on an established basic methodology which first identifies push and pull factors that lead to recruitment or radicalization into violent extremism, and then designs interventions that specifically eliminate these root causes. Their paper describes programs delivered through formal educational institutions, as well as programs that build community resilience. It offers recommendations on how to make these programs more effective.
Rovshan Ibrahimov reflects on the impact of the participation of Azerbaijani citizens in conflicts in Syria and Iraq. He notes that this impact on the community has, at least to this point, remained relatively marginal. However, he also raises concerns about the potential longer-term radicalization effect of this development in Azerbaijan. Siddik Ekici, of the Turkish National Police, is concerned by the threat of violent extremism in Turkey and reflects on the Turkish experience of terrorism as a case study. This is an opportunity for him to review some of the strategies deployed by the police to prevent youth engagement in violent extremism. Kamil Yilmaz, from the International Center for Terrorism and Transnational Crime (UTSAM), observes that the Syrian civil war created conditions that are conducive to radicalization. The conflict actually acts as a gravitational force for foreign fighters. He reflects on the effects of the prolonged Syrian crisis and on how limited the available options for its impact are. Christian Barna also refers to the Syrian crisis and considers its impact on Romania. His paper describes how known supported of Al-Qaeda-aligned groups in Syria are recruiting in Romania. The paper reflects on how social media intelligence is being used to counter the radicalization of young Muslims in that country. Yani Kozaliev focuses on radicalism and extremist violence in the Balkan region, in particular in Bulgaria. His paper examines the case of al Wakf al Islami, a group which was actively recruiting and encouraging violent extremism among young Bulgarian Muslims.
Part of the discussions during the workshop focused on the role and experience of the police in preventing violent extremism and implementing counter radicalization initiatives. A detailed description of relevant community policing initiatives in Turkey is offered by M. Alper Sozer, Ali Sevinc and Suleyman Ozeren of that country's National Police Academy. They also relate the findings of a survey of police officers' attitude with respect to such initiatives.
The book closes with a fascinating qualitative study of children from the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territories. The paper by Guido Veronese, Alessandro Pepe and Marco Castiglioni presents recent research and the authors' own findings on children agency and activism in the Shadow of “PTSD Industry”. The study it describes aimed to identify domains of wellbeing that contribute in helping children to cope with violence and insecurity.
This collection of papers will contribute directly to building a capacity to prevent radical violent extremism. Nonetheless, the discussion that took place during the Milan workshop is not over yet and more systematic research is needed before final conclusions are reached. The recruitment of foreign fighters and its potential impact on public safety in the country they come from is also emerging as a complex issue which is now at the forefront of international preoccupations. It requires strategic thinking and more of the kind of clear analyses that are exemplified in this book. The research exchanges on these global challenges suggest the need for continued discussions among practitioners and regular updates on the progress of related research.
This paper analyzes the reply to the threat of terrorism by Western countries in general. It pays special attention to programs that aim to prevent terrorism from establishing itself in a country and recruiting followers. It points out various errors, dilemmas, and excesses that can make state interventions unsuccessful and even counterproductive. It outlines the types of errors to avoid and programs to adopt in order to be effective. It discusses multiculturalism and social cohesion highlighting their strong and weak points in relation to terrorism prevention. It also offers a critique of the “pyramidal” approach often used to develop strategies against organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism.
The marginalization, alienation and sometimes victimization of whole communities, and the resulting perception of discrimination and injustice, can help justify and rationalize extremist beliefs. They can also render a whole community vulnerable to exploitation by radical elements and unable to defend itself. Among these factors, one finds the differential social and psychological impact of various counter-terrorism measures on the marginalized groups. Too little attention has been paid to the unintended impact on these vulnerable groups, diasporas, immigrants and other minority groups of the various measures taken to combat terrorism and counter-radicalization measures. Some communities are held hostage by criminal or radical groups, living under constant fear and intimidation. The counter-terrorism measures favoured by the State rarely extend to offering effective protection to these communities against the radical elements hiding within them. This paper considers these issues as well as available research on effective strategies, including broad inclusion programmes, to protect and support vulnerable groups whose youth are at risk of exclusion and marginalization.
The pathways through which some individuals move from confusion, frustration or anger to an acceptance of violence as a mode of political struggle are far from being well understood. It is certainly not clear that the process in question is very different for a would-be terrorist than for a would-be gang member. In reality, it may not be that helpful to focus, as most researchers have, on the role of ideology and extremist beliefs in order to understand these pathways. Fanatically embracing an ideology is not a necessary precursor to terrorism or, for that matter, to a violent criminal career as a member of a gang. The paper explores the possible application of evidence-based gang recruitment prevention, gang desistance, and youth inclusion programmes as a basis for more realistic interventions to prevent violent extremism and to break the pathways to crime and violence.
Youth are vulnerable to recruitment into extremist groups which may commit terrorist acts when they inhabit environments with extremely high levels of corruption. This corruption includes both daily low-level corruption and the high level corruption that drains resources from countries and undermines the possibility of foreign direct investment. In the absence of possibilities for employment and in an environment of pervasive cynicism, youth are drawn into and can be recruited for extremist organizations. This phenomenon has been observed in many regions ranging from the Sahel, North Africa to the Middle East, Central Asia and Afghanistan and Pakistan. Terrorist groups often provide social services in an attempt to recruit youth who can subsequently be radicalized. The centrality of corruption to the problem of youth recruitment has not received the attention it deserves nor has been it been recognized for its galvanizing force in many regions of the world. This paper will discuss its influence and the reasons it must be more central to the discussions of violent extremism.
After the end of the Cold War, the attention of the international community shifted towards the promotion of the rule of law and the protection of human rights in the field of security. Later, the notion of human security appeared and challenged the dominance of the concept of state security in defining and guiding national security policies. These developments are clearly relevant to counter-terrorism policies and suggest some significantly different approaches to prevent the recruitment of individuals by violent-extremist organizations and the spread of terrorism. Concurrently, the globalization of the threat of terrorism has required responses at various levels, demanded greater international cooperation and forced multilateral organizations to mobilize themselves and attempt to define a basis upon which to collaborate in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. The paper argues that a commitment to human rights and broad human security objectives is the most promising basis upon which to proceed in preventing the recruitment and radicalization of vulnerable segments of the population. It draws attention to recent initiatives to prevent prisons from becoming incubators of violent extremism and terrorism.
This paper focuses on the applicability of a crisis management model to issues such as violence, radicalization, extremism and terrorism. It argues that, although criticized, the model constitutes a valid method to approach those issues. It is important to recognize the fundamental role of risk communication and the importance of that dimension in broadening our approaches and providing a basis for a comprehensive crisis management and prevention strategy. To do so, it is essential that we develop a common understanding of the characteristics of risk communication, as a phenomenon, as well as the role of risk perception, and that we become aware of the promising potentials of risk communication as a basis for crisis management and the prevention of violent radicalization.
Jihadist groups claim that their violent actions are supported within the four traditional schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, and that Islam itself mandates a jihadist view of scripture. The existence of traditional legal opinion which differs from that of modern jihadists, however, contradicts their claims to theological authenticity and exclusive truth. This paper counters their theological claims by demonstrating that their arguments are not based on traditionally recognised interpretations of Islamic sources and are antithetical to the normative values displayed within classical Sunni jurisprudence.
The familiarity with terms such as fundamentalism, radicalism and terrorism, acquired by the public thanks to the media, is the starting point for this paper to analyze and contextualize them in order to highlight relevant paths towards radicalization. The paper, focusing in particular on the Mediterranean area, after addressing the political background as one of the driver for radicalization, takes into account three specific scenarios, namely Italy, Libya and Syria. For each of them the state of the art about recruiting and radicalizing processes, fulfilled also thanks to the use of the Internet and Social Networks, is drawn to conclude that it is necessary to “think out of the box” to deploy new tools to confront them.
This paper argues that terrorism, as a national and regional threat in the Middle East, is experiencing transformations after the Arab Spring, reflecting political developments in the region and generating new patterns of terrorism, or, in some other cases, bringing old patterns to the forefront. It is becoming more complex, in terms of the actors, the strategies adopted by terrorist organizations, and the more pressing security threats. It also argues that this transformation of terrorism coincides with a lack of consensus among Middle East countries on the pressing nature of terrorism as a threat and on the needed for strategies to counter it. Therefore, encouraging any regional mechanism for countering terrorism needs to be pursued on a limited scale encompassing only countries that share the same security perceptions. In this context, the present paper examines three main challenges that regional cooperation faced in the Middle East with regard to countering terrorism in the years following the Arab revolutions. It emphasizes the factors which render a regional level approach difficult to achieve.
Supporting Sufis as alternatives to Salafis has been a popular strategy but has generally not proved successful, as this paper shows. This lack of success, it will be argued, results partly from the organizational nature of Sufism, which makes it hard to mobilize Sufis in large numbers, and partly from the choice of Sufi orders that particular governments have made. Examples are taken from Morocco, the USA, the UK, and Egypt.
The paper will explore the theoretical background and state of the research in regard to De-radicalization and Disengagement Programs (DDPs i.e. ‘Exit Programs’) as counter-terrorism and prevention tools against violent radicalization leading to terrorism. Introducing the theory of a ‘counter-terrorism network’ working on three social scales (macro-, meso-, and micro-social) and three impact levels (prevention, repression, intervention) the paper will explore in detail how exactly de-radicalization programs can yield a high impact on radical milieus and become a cornerstone of a society's resilience. In addition the paper will give a broad introduction to de-radicalization studies and an overview of relevant research in the field. Case studies and insights from two of the world's most successful programs will show how the theory might work in practice: EXIT-Germany (counselling highly radicalized individuals wanting to leave the German extreme right-wing scene) and HAYAT (a German family counselling program for the relatives of Jihadists and Foreign Fighters, as well as of individuals on the path of non-violent radicalization). Both programs have been running for some time (EXIT since 2000 and HAYAT since 2011) and have yielded an enormous amount of primary data on the practice of de-radicalization and the impact these programs can have on highly radical milieus. As both programs were initially designed as non-state actor counter-terrorism programs the paper will compare the practical insights derived from these two programs in light of the ‘counter-terrorism network’ theory. The paper will conclude with a summarizing theory of deradicalization programs as counter-terrorism and prevention tools and how these programs can be set-up effectively in order to achieve this end.
The focus of international and national strategies for countering terrorism in the past decade has shifted from using hard security measures alone to combat terrorism, to a more multi-sectoral, comprehensive approach, which also includes more preventive strategies known as countering violent extremism (CVE). For example, multilateral organizations such as the United Nations are focusing on CVE through Pillar 1 of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which addresses “conditions conducive” to the spread of terrorism. This relatively new approach is also apparent through the formation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF) as a multilateral platform for addressing counter-terrorism issues, and the subsequent establishment of Hedayah, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, as the first institution to solely focus its efforts in long-term, preventive measures to foster resilience against violent extremism and terrorism. The CVE programs and policies that are emerging both out of the UN, the GCTF, Hedayah and the broader international community are based on an established basic methodology that 1) identifies push and pull factors that lead to recruitment or radicalization into violent extremism, and 2) designs interventions that specifically eliminate these root causes. This paper explores the international framework supporting the development and implementation of targeted interventions, specifically to minimize youth recruitment and radicalization into violent extremism through two program areas: 1) CVE through formal educational institutions, 2) building community resilience through families and communities. This paper also describes the recent work by Hedayah and other international bodies in these two program areas, and recommends potential next steps and ways forward to make these programs more effective.
Developments in Syria and Iraq have stirred up not only these countries, but also the entire region. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan is not in close proximity to these countries and has no common border with them, it is also affected by the impact of these events. However, the effect is of a somewhat different nature. To some degree this impact, at least at the community level was relatively marginal. Some Azerbaijani citizens belonging to the radical groups are actively involved in military operations in Syria and Iraq, joining the ranks of the Syrian opposition and the ISID. The purpose of this paper is to examine the causes of this phenomenon, its origins, and its possible consequences.
An alternative way to reducing terrorism may be to understand why individuals, especially youth, join violent extremist groups. Such an understanding prevail the boundaries that need to be overcome in order to develop counter policies to discourage membership in such organizations. The study refers to the hierarchy of needs framework to capture why adults and youth prefer to be within extremist violent groups. In other words, the study is designed to find out what perceived needs commonly motivate individuals to join terror groups. The research uses Turkey's terrorism experience as a case study and introduces actual applied non-lethal policies to prevent youth becoming engaged in violent extremism.
This article critically examines the effects of the Syrian crisis on ‘foreign fighters’ by placing a special emphasis on problems emanating from the prolongation of the crisis. In doing this, the article discusses various issues such as non-intervention, the principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and the ‘Paris Commune Effect’ of the activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. In a nutshell, this article argues that efforts regarding the foreign fighters issues must be supported by an actual and concrete intent to resolve the Syrian crisis. The approach of Western states, since the civil war in Syria, has proved to be counterproductive as it has caused the radicalization of more individuals living in those places.
Romania has a Muslim community coming from Syria and its neighboring countries. Unfortunately, some of these Muslims are known sympathizers of al-Qaeda-aligned groups in Syria and are recruiting new members on their behalf once in Romania. For instance, in December 2013, an al-Qaeda website announced the death of Abu Mohammad al Rumani (from Romania) on the battlefield in Syria. This paper analyzes the way sympathizers of al-Qaeda-aligned groups in Syria are trying to find new adepts within the Romanian Muslim community using the new media, mainly forums, blogs and social networks. Romania and European countries are exposed to this powerful trend of jihadist social networking. This fact, compounded by the situation in Syria, compels us to pay more attention the jihadist influence in cyberspace. Using SOCMINT, the paper identifies several potential strategies for countering the radicalization of young Muslims in Romania, including several that might also prove viable in other NATO member states.
This paper focuses on radicalism and extremist behavior in the Balkan region and in particular on the Bulgarian situation. It contributes to give an idea of what are the trends of the young Bulgarian Muslim radicalization by referring to the topical case of al Wakf al Islami, which is used also as the starting point for the highlight od possible preventive measures.
Terrorism has been at the top of the global security agenda since 9/11. Starting in 2010, the Arab rising has escalated tension in North Africa and Middle East. Several countries suddenly turned into conflict areas, and this situation sparked support for an armed struggle not only among many people living in chaotic regions, but also among people living in various Western countries. Community policing has been implemented in various settings as a response to this rapidly spreading problem. Turkey has been fighting against all sorts of violent extremism and terrorism for over 40 years through different strategies. Community policing projects in countering violent extremism has been implemented since 2009. Few studies have examined how it is implemented in the field. The study reported here attempted to explore the perceptions of community policing officer because to what extent community policing is implemented as it is intended strongly depends on the perception of these officers. For the study, a total of 71 officers from seven Turkish cities participated in face-to-face interviews. Findings show that majority of community policing officers held a positive viewof community policing and that was encouraging for the future success of the program. A few officers among those who had negative perceptions thought that the philosophy of community policing is valuable, but that the activities they were currently involved in did not really constitute a community policing activity. The remaining officers (3) were totally against the idea of community policing in countering violent extremism.
The care systems in developing countries are subjected to worldwide standards and guidelines, in which the western voice dominates the local one. Palestinian children living under political and military violence are often labeled as affected by post-traumatic stress syndromes and other stress related psychiatric impairments. Yet, data emerging from the ground and clinical experience show that these children, despite the worsening environmental conditions they live in, continue to show positive functioning in how they adjust to trauma. We carried out a qualitative research with children from the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territories. Thematic content analysis of written materials produced by 74 school aged children has been implemented. Our work aimed to identify domains of wellbeing that contribute to helping children cope with violence and insecurity. Personal, environmental, micro and macro-social factors emerged. The study's limitations and its implications for clinical and community work with children living under political and military threats are discussed.