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Deradicalization refers to preventive counterterrorism measures that aim to have those with extreme and violent religious or political ideologies adopt more moderate and nonviolent views. This is most effective when counteracting an ongoing − rather than well advanced − process of radicalization (counter-radicalization) whereby individuals or groups gradually develop a mindset that increases the risk of violent extremism or terrorism. Deradicalization is not to be confused with anti-radicalization in which radicalization is aimed to be deterred and prevented from occurring in the first place. Deradicalization has been described as an emerging science.
Measures and projects
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Google's think tank Jigsaw has been developing a new program − called the Redirect Method − in which Google's search advertising algorithms and YouTube's video platform are used to target aspiring ISIS recruits and ultimately dissuade them from joining the group.
Machine learning and scientific inquiry can be used to find the most effective contents (such as videos) for deradicalization, to learn why people leave terrorist movements and to identify aspiring violent radicals.
Humera Khan, executive director of the Islamic deradicalization group Muflehu, states that deradicalization also needs human interaction and a supportive community backing up the person's decision to turn away from extremism.
Renee Garfinkel also notes that personal relationships play a major role in the transformation of involvement in violence to non-violent activity, saying "change often hinges on a relationship with a mentor or friend who supports and affirms peaceful behavior".
Companies, organizations and nations might use deradicalization as a pretext to spread their own propaganda or to manipulate people with nonviolent views. Appropriate oversight, proper training data for machine learning approaches and similar measures may mitigate such risks.
Deradicalization programmes in Western Europe
Multiple Western Europe countries have implemented deradicalization programs in a variety of forms, specifically after September 11, 2001. In more recent years, some countries saw a drastic increases in the number of jihadists attacks, especially France. In September 2016, France opened its first deradicalization centre in Pontourny. The original plan was to have the Pontourny center the first of multiple in the country, however, the Pontourny centre turned out to be failure. Less than a year after it opened, the deradicalization centre in Pontourny had no residents.
Sociologist Gérald Bronner calls the notion of "deradicalization" flawed, saying "It means that you can take an idea or a belief out of the brain, and I think that’s just impossible" and instead suggests "not a kind of mental manipulation but the opposite — mind liberation, a strengthening of their intellectual immune systems".
- Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund
- Targeted advertising
- Filter bubble
- Education in the Middle East and North Africa
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