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The Futile Search for a Silver Bullet for Deradicalization

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 27, 2016, No Comments

A friend of mine sent me this blog (see the URL below) from one of India’s most respected newspapers, The Hindu.  I read all essays and books that deal with radicalization and that of deradicalization.  Thus far, I haven’t read anything that persuaded me to say that, indeed, we have found a silver bullet against those phenomena.  But my search continues.

If an economist is writing about these subjects, he/she would lean toward explanations underscoring economic deprivation and the resultant anger as part of the reason for radicalization, as the essay below quotes Princeton University Professor Alan B. Krueger’s work on the subject.  If a political scientist or a sociologist is the author, he/she opts for politico-social variables as reasons for radicalization.  But psychologists remain a source of hope to me, even though all psychological studies that I have seen on the subject are far from being labelled as impressive; even though most of them who have studied these issues seem think that they really understand them and have found ways to cure, if not counter, radicalization.

Blaming Islam is another convenient way out by depicting the radicals as “crazy ones,” brainwashed by half-educated mullahs.  I know, the law enforcement groups and intelligence agencies of Western and Muslim countries have their own respective versions of explanations and silver bullets.

Perhaps the ultimate way to comprehend these phenomena is that there is no one single cause that is generating radicalization of young Muslims worldwide.  What we need to do is to reexamine all major works on radicalization, especially the deradicalization programs, in all major Islamic countries to see where the real success has been and then find ways to further polish those tactics to deradicalize other jihadists.

No one approach may have all the answers to explain radicalization.  Thus, no one discipline should be relied upon to prepare deradicalization programs.  Thus, perhaps we need mega-theories explaining the causes of radicalization and then use multiple disciplines to develop effective countermeasures (deradicalization).

“The ABC of radicalisation”  http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/roots-of-radical-movements-dhaka-siege-kashmir-insurgency-ltte-sri-lanka/article8820186.ece?homepage=true