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Meeting Notes - July 01, 2010

A New Approach? Deradicalization Programs and Counterterrorism

Nur Laiq and Ellie Hearne, rapporteurs

 

 

“Deradicalization” programs, which are geared toward peacefully moving individuals and groups away from violent extremism, have grown both in popularity and in scope of late, even in just the past five years. While these programs vary widely, with differing subjects (e.g., prisoners, potential terrorists, convicted criminals, repentant extremists), aims (e.g., abandonment of extreme views, disengagement from terrorism, rehabilitation into society), sizes (from just a handful of participants to hundreds), and forms (from arranging jobs, marriages, and new lives for participants, to merely educating them on nonviolent alternatives to their methods), common themes and problems can be discerned. With recent high-profile cases of recidivism by supposedly “deradicalized” individuals, questions are being raised about the efficacy of these programs and about how best to design them.

On March 16-17, 2010, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Arab Thought Forum (ATF) convened a two-day conference entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: Learning from Deradicalization Programs in Some Muslim-Majority States.” This report draws on the presentations of a number conference presenters and other participants.

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