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Assessing counter-radicalisation approaches and policies

Vivian on countering radicalisation
So I guess when we think about policies designed to stop people from radicalising to violent extremism, there have been a lot of policies designed to counter violent extremism. There is a whole area of what’s called CVE, which is all about countering these trends towards joining violent extremist groups. And while some of these initiatives have had some effect, it hasn’t always been a positive effect if we think about, for example, the UK government’s prevent policy. That policy was all about targeting particular communities who were seen as being at risk. In that case, it was often people in Muslim communities who were seen as being vulnerable to recruitment into terrorism.
And that led to Muslim communities in the UK becoming suspect and actually misreading a lot of the time social cues, and misunderstanding young people, and making assumptions about them. And what that ended up doing was actually securitizing their lives and making them more likely to act in ways that are antisocial. So it’s an incredibly delicate area for governments to work in.
And the first thing we need to do when we try to address this issue is to think in terms of addressing it, not in terms of countering it, preventing it, but preventing it by actually understanding and addressing the root causes of it, so understanding the reasons why people may be interested or may be seduced by violent extremist movements, whether they’re on the far right, whether they’re Islamists, whatever the denomination might be.
What is it about these groups that holds an appeal to certain members of the community, a small minority, particularly of young people, and understanding the things that draw people in or the pull factors, and understanding the push factors, the things that might push someone towards joining violent extremist organisations is critical to developing a response that addresses the issues and doesn’t think in terms of a quick fix or a simple counter but an actual taking a step back and addressing those very underlying root cause factors.

Dr. Vivian Gerrand from Deakin University speaks about the pros and cons of policies designed to stop people from radicalising to violent extremism. While some policies have had positive effects, this is not always the case, which is why the design of such policies need to be carefully thought through taking into account the context, with a few to tackling the root causes rather than just policing the outcome.

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Religion, Radicalisation, Resilience

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