I’m quoted in this week’s Economist talking about the need to enhance resources for disengagement and de-radicalisation programmes for those returning from Syria. The contrast with other European countries, such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden, is stark – and we need to catch up quick.
I’ve written about this at more length for HuffPo.
De radicalisation for returning Jihadists?, the facts remain that these are individuals/groups who have travelled to Syria and alike to fight or in some cases assist in facilitating acts of Terrorism, irrespective of what is classed as a potential de radicalisation programme (wherever/whatever that may be) these individuals cannot be turned around and de radicalised, the problem is at the source and the various networks and groups that pursue the radicalisation programme and revert process…so let us not kid ourselves, a programme like de radicalisation does not work. Unless you have actually been on the ground in these areas and have true ground truth knowledge and experience of conflict areas, (not from afar or behind a desk), then it would be prudent to ask that individuals who have this knowledge of what is happening in areas such as Syria and also those that are involved in the coal face work of crisis management be approached and asked their opinions.
Thanks for your comments. There is actually a growing body of evidence of the value of working with those who choose to turn their backs on violence. These programmes only work when they are voluntary – you can’t force someone to change their mind. So they won’t work for everyone. But for those who come back from places like Syria and Iraq who have not fought (there are many), or have fought and have seen the error of their ways, the evidence does show that these programmes can work. For the hard core, it is prison, of course,
I work extensively with practitioners on these issues – prison officers, probation officers, police and wider law enforcement, youth and community workers. I would say support for de-radicalisation programmes is most pronounced among the people with coalface experience as they see it work in practice.
We might agree to disagree, but I do appreciate you taking the time to comment. Dialogue = good 🙂
I’d like to speak further on this if you have the time Rachel