( A seven minute read)
When it comes to putting a finger on the reasons for Extremism Terrorism we can all cite, 9/11, Iraq, Syria, the Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, indeed the list is endless.
We all also know that terrorism roots are hidden the shadows of history. Pathways to terrorism are in fact a politicisation of violence.
Ever bomb, bullet, death of a loved one gives birth to a potential Terrorist, however equally important are the social psychological or psycho-social causes of extremism.
Hundreds of millions have been invested in counter-terrorism policies and
interventions. Yet more than 12 years after the September 11 attacks, there is widespread recognition that governments still find it challenging to measure the effectiveness of their counter terrorism work and to learn from it.
For what it is worth here is my simplistic overview of what causes people to turn to act of unadulterated Barbarism along with a few suggestions to countermand them.
Terrorism research has indicated that neither poverty nor socio-economic deprivation are direct root causes of terrorism. The idea that radicalization causes terrorism is perhaps the greatest myth alive today in terrorism research … The overwhelming majority of people who hold radical beliefs do not engage in violence. And there is increasing evidence that people who engage in terrorism don’t necessarily hold radical beliefs.
This appears to point to that it is very significant to understand why certain individuals develop radical tendencies while others do not.
The underlying reason for extremist aggression is the natural response to frustration. This frustration acting in concert and symbiotically with the violent nature of people has become a real threat to state survival and social solidarity.
Emphasising only one possible cause of terrorism and extremism is all about politics.
With the government calling on police officers, intelligence agents, community workers and even teachers to voice ‘early signs’ of radicalization, it is crucial to understand what radicalization really is – and what causes it.
What we need instead is a sincere effort to actually think about and solve the problem of violent extremism. Governments should “stop being brainwashed by the notion of ‘radicalisation’. There is no such thing. Some people when they’re young acquire extreme views; many of them just grow out of them.
The real reasons are much more complicated.
There are many reasons behind why an average person may do something harmful to an innocent person while seeing it as a good deed.
These reasons are multi-dimensional and to explain them in simple, tip-of-the iceberg terms will only add to the confusion, rather than bring meaningful understanding.
Put generally, a few of these reasons are the world’s lack of a moderate, moral and fair role model, in addition to a lack of access to proper education in many places, lack of basic resources for many people, too much repression, autocratic rulers, closed-minded and egocentric leaders, personality factors, family upbringing, a tarnished sense of pride, among many others.
There is much less chance of any young person becoming radicalized if they have not viewed their life through a prism of discrimination or deprivation, have not seen particular events, such as the Iraq war, as requiring a direct and personal response and have not joined groups with violent ideologies and aims.
Individual socio-psychological factors, include grievances and emotions such as: alienation and exclusion; anger and frustration; grievance and a strong sense of injustice; feelings of humiliation; rigid binary thinking; a tendency to misinterpret situations; conspiracy theories; a sense of victimhood; personal vulnerabilities; counter-cultural elements.
These are contributed to by : Social factors, Political factors, Ideological/religious factors Culture and identity crisis, Trauma and other trigger mechanisms, Group dynamics Radicalizers/groomers. Social media.
Hatred spreads hatred only, a dull and meaningless life fuels this hate.
It is no secret that most people who engage in terrorist violence today come from marginalised neighborhoods or ghettos.
Violent extremism is an extension of radicalization from a relatively benign expression of a viewpoint to the use of violence to achieve a particular goal.
What can be done to make a difference?
All of those countries that sell arms to promote their economies should be crying wolf, they should be a shamed and have sanctions placed on them.
The police and relevant agencies might require closer relationships in the future with companies such as Facebook and Google to assist them in identifying red flags for vulnerable individuals. However, what needs to be clear as well is that Internet Service Provider (ISP) are not watchdogs in the service of the government’s.
The ISP needs to focus on online content and messaging, rather than exploring how the internet is used by individuals in the process of their radicalization. As society increasingly embraces the internet, so opportunities for those wishing to use it for terrorism have grown.
There is an assumption that the internet plays a part in some individuals’ radicalization… but [there are] no large-scale studies showing this to actually be the case or measuring the extent of the internet’s role in such processes.
Theology remains the prevalent scapegoat for extremism, but each human is an independent moral agent and must be judged for their own actions and choices.
At the end, targeting extremism is about targeting ideas more than individuals.
On a global scale, radicalisation and extremism have led people to travel to conflict zones to fight in foreign wars. If they were not effects on the way out they will certainly be by the time they wish to return. Different individuals have different motivations for engaging in such behaviour, making it hard to pinpoint exactly when alarm bells should sound for family, friends or authorities.
Effective counter-radicalization programs must be inclusive of local minority
communities and their leaders. Top-down policies are unlikely to succeed.
Radicalization and violent extremism will continue to be issues of concern, but to those that have lost love one it is too late to introduce Prevent strategy. They have only consolation, to honor their pain and loss by forgiveness, not by turning the other cheek but by grasping and living their lives to the full, adding there voices to hope and love, as an extremist does not think this way.
Overall, the more virtue a person uses to bring unconditional good to this world, the more he has climbed up the ladder of humanity.
There is no denying that Judaism, Christianity and Islam contain in their sacred books verses and chapters that are distasteful, awkward, unpleasant, and (especially from our modern point-of-view) morally dubious. Not only scholars of religion, but all those who attempt to take those scriptures seriously, are forced to grapple with those issues.
I think that blaming the texts themselves is somewhat misleading—especially since the vast majority of these religions’ adherents show no inclination to act out the troubling content of their own faiths’ sacred texts.
Forming the mind and shaping the heart:
These, I believe, are two simple but equally necessary approaches which are incumbent upon all of us, to help stem the tide of radicalization—not by circumventing our sacred texts, but by delving into them more profoundly, in ways that offer greater benefit for everyone.
The Question is:
How can democracy respond to extremism without undermining its own democratic credentials?
Harmony and Tolerance have to be earned by affording opportunity to all, not inequalities or diluting Human Rights laws.
Terrorism is a strategy of weakness that is hoping to provoke their enemies into overreacting. In essence terrorism is a show that is designed to capture our imaginations, and make us feel as if we are sliding back into medieval chaos.
In most cases the overreaction to terrorism poses a far greater threat to our security than the terrorists themselves.
They may provoke us but in the end it will depend on our reactions.
With the coming era of Artificial Intelligence inequality is going to contribute to our disturbed world far beyond terrorism if we don’t vet all AI Algorithms to ensure they comply to our human values. ( See previous posts)
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