• Tackling the roots of radicalisation , On: Sun, 26 Mar 2017

  • Lessons of the Dutch vote , On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

  • Tough days for Arab women facing war and displacement , On: Sun, 12 Mar 2017

  • ISIS a failed idea and a failing project , On: Sun, 05 Mar 2017

  • Civilians continue to suffer in Iraq , On: Sun, 26 Feb 2017

  • Killing the Palestinians’ hopes for statehood , On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • The migration issue after Malta , On: Sun, 12 Feb 2017

  • The Trump administration’s early record , On: Sun, 05 Feb 2017

  • Israeli settlement policies could endanger regional and global peace , On: Sun, 29 Jan 2017

  • The messages of Davos , On: Sun, 22 Jan 2017

  • Predicting MENA’s future, On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • Welcoming 2017 , On: Sun, 08 Jan 2017

  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, On: Sun, 25 Dec 2016

  • The Cairo bombing , On: Sun, 18 Dec 2016

  • The wages of war , On: Sun, 11 Dec 2016

  • The continuing flow of migrants across the Mediterranean, On: Sun, 04 Dec 2016

  • Risks of social media abuse in MENA region , On: Sun, 27 Nov 2016

  • Arab youth should be a source of hope, not concern, On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • After the election of Donald Trump , On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • Many hopes are pinned on Marrakech climate conference , On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Syria’s bloody story , On: Sun, 23 Oct 2016

  • Stopping the tragedy of child brides, On: Sun, 16 Oct 2016

  • Welcoming the new UN chief , On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • The refugee crisis is not going away , On: Sun, 02 Oct 2016

  • The UN still serves a purpose , On: Sun, 25 Sep 2016

  • The Arab world’s water crisis is not going away , On: Sun, 18 Sep 2016

  • New reports underline the cost of Israeli occupation , On: Sun, 11 Sep 2016

  • Saving children from war and terror, On: Sun, 04 Sep 2016

  • The humanitarian tragedy in Libya , On: Sun, 28 Aug 2016

  • Worrisome trends but also welcome moves regarding smoking in MENA, On: Sun, 21 Aug 2016

  • The Arab world at the Rio Olympics, On: Sun, 14 Aug 2016

  • Progress in interfaith relations in Europe is a sign of hope, On: Sun, 07 Aug 2016

  • The role of the private sector in MENA , On: Sun, 31 Jul 2016

  • Tourism is resilient and Arab countries should prepare for its recovery , On: Sun, 24 Jul 2016

  • Attack in Nice is a crime against humanity but should not fuel intolerance , On: Sun, 17 Jul 2016

  • Concerns after Brexit, On: Sun, 03 Jul 2016

  • Moving Arab educational systems beyond diplomas , On: Sun, 26 Jun 2016

  • The threat of lone wolves , On: Sun, 19 Jun 2016

  • The heavy toll of war in MENA, On: Sun, 12 Jun 2016

  • Tackling the roots of radicalisation

    Much of the radicalisation in Europe has occurred under the auspices of various Islamist and Salafist groups.

    2017/03/26 Issue: 99 Page: 6

    In the past few days, lone terrorists have spread fear and uncertainty in Western European cities.

    In London, 52-year-old British-born Khalid Masood managed to drive his hired car onto the pavement of Westminster Bridge, killing three people and leaving about 40 injured. He then fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman at the entrance to the British parliament before being shot dead.

    The week before, there was an incident at Orly, the French capital’s second-busiest airport. Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old Frenchman, attacked a woman soldier. He was shot dead but the incident caused panic and temporary closure of the airport.

    A dark thread runs through such incidents, one that has sadly been evident over and over in European cities in the past few years. The thread that links them all is unchecked radicalisa­tion.

    Some of the lone terrorists are second- or even third-genera­tion immigrants. But terrorists’ ethnic origins do not explain how and why they became who they are. After all, many of them were born and bred in the countries they later go on to attack. It goes without saying but let it be said: Terrorists are out of sync with Muslim and Arab communities in Europe.

    If anything, the London and Orly attackers were petty crimi­nals and probably acquired a dubious purpose in life from the agents of radicalisation that spurred them to act.

    It’s well known that many terrorists spend time in prison and are exposed to the jihadist narrative there. A 2016 study by former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s foundation found that 65% of its 100-strong sample of jihadist leaders had been in jail. There, feelings of marginalisation could be turned into a weapon. It is a delicate task to deactivate these ticking human time bombs. But it can be done. The careful selection of prison preachers could be essential.

    Of course, radicalisation also occurs on the internet and satellite television. And then, there are firebrand preachers in Europe’s mosques. What is heard there is all too often miscon­strued as free speech even though it is naked incitement.

    Exposure to radical narratives, disseminated in all of these different ways, can have a powerful effect on the worldview of new converts to Islam. In fact, it is recent converts, rather than those who have had the benefit of more traditional religious instruction, who become more radical.

    Much of the radicalisation in Europe has occurred under the auspices of various Islamist and Salafist groups. The Muslim Brotherhood is a major one of them. Former British prime minister David Cameron described the Brotherhood’s activities as “contrary to our values”. He said they had been “contrary to our national interests and our national security”. He based his position on a review undertaken by former British envoy to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins. But for whatever reason, the review never went anywhere.

    There is an urgent need to shed more light on the process of radicalisation and its consequences. Such an exercise is impera­tive if we are to beat terrorism. Rhetoric is not enough.

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