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Abstract

Violent religious extremism is a global concern today. As governments prepare their counterterrorism policies, many focus solely on reactive measures such as military action and surveillance measures – hard power – that are responsive to individuals who are already radicalized. This paper argues that education should be incorporated into such policies as a preventive measure that not only makes students resilient citizens but can also address the psychological, emotional and intellectual appeal of narratives – soft power – that terrorists purport. In doing so, states can counter soft power with the use of soft power in a concerted effort among government departments, social institutions and communities. Our paper clarifies the complexities among fundamentalism, extremism, radicalism and terrorism, and summarizes a variety of push and pull factors that trigger radicalization; it offers as well specific pedagogical recommendations for the Canadian educational system to consider.
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Can education counter violent religious extremism?
Ratna Ghosha*, W.Y. Alice Chan b**, Ashley Manuel c***, and Maihemuti Dilimulati d****
a, b, c, d Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
*Ratna Ghosh is a James McGill Professor and W.C. Macdonald Professor of Education at
McGill University. Email: ratna.ghosh@mcgill.ca
**W.Y. Alice Chan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at
McGill University. Email: alice.chan@mail.mcgill.ca
***Ashley Manuel is a recent graduate of McGill University's Education and Society Master's
program, and is currently the Assistant Director of the Canadian Institute of Identities and
Migration, a division of the Association of Canadian Studies. Email: ashley.manuel@acs-aec.ca
****Maihemuti Dilimulati is a PhD student in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education
at McGill University. Email: maihemuti.dilimulati@mail.mcgill.ca
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Canadian
Foreign Policy Journal on May 2016, available online:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11926422.2016.1165713.
To cite this article: Ratna Ghosh, W.Y. Alice Chan, Ashley Manuel & MaihemutiDilimulati
(2016): Can education counter violent religious extremism?, Canadian Foreign Policy Journal,
DOI: 10.1080/11926422.2016.1165713
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Abstracts/Résumés
Can education counter violent religious extremism?
Ratna Ghosh, W.Y. Alice Chan, Ashley Manuel, and Maihemuti Dilimulati
Violent religious extremism is a global concern today. As governments prepare their counter-
terrorism policies, many focus solely on reactive measures such as military action and surveillance
measures hard power- that are responsive to individuals who are already radicalized. This paper
argues that education should be incorporated into such policies as a preventive measure that not
only makes students resilient citizens but can also addresses the psychological, emotional, and
intellectual appeal of narratives soft power that terrorists purport. In doing so, states can
counter soft power with the use of soft power in a concerted effort among government departments,
social institutions and communities. Our paper clarifies the complexities among fundamentalism,
extremism, radicalism, and terrorism, and summarizes a variety of push and pull factors that trigger
radicalization; it offers as well, specific pedagogical recommendations for the Canadian
educational system to consider.
Aujourd’hui, l’extrémisme religieux violent est une préoccupation à l’échelle
internationale. Alors que certains gouvernements préparent leurs politiques antiterroristes,
plusieurs autres ne se concentrent que sur des mesures réactives telles que les actions militaires et
les mesures de surveillance accrue - hard power - visant particulièrement les personnes qui sont
déjà radicalisées. Cet article souligne que l'éducation devrait être intégrée dans ces politiques
comme une mesure préventive qui ne rend pas seulement les étudiants citoyens résilients, mais qui
peut aussi s’attaquer au discours attrayant sur le plan psychologique, émotionnel et intellectuel -
soft power alimentés par les terroristes. Ce faisant, les États, à travers une action concertée entre
les ministères, les institutions et les communautés, peuvent contrer le soft power en utilisant le soft
power. Notre article explique les différences complexes entre le fondamentalisme, l'extrémisme,
le radicalisme et le terrorisme, et met l’accent sur les différents facteurs qui déclenchent la
radicalisation. Il propose également des recommandations pédagogiques adaptées au système
éducatif canadien.
Keywords: education; extremism; religion; violence; youth; pedagogy
*Ratna Ghosh is a James McGill Professor and W.C. Macdonald Professor of Education at
McGill University. Email: ratna.ghosh@mcgill.ca
**W.Y. Alice Chan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at
McGill University. Email: alice.chan@mail.mcgill.ca
***Ashley Manuel is a recent graduate of McGill University's Education and Society Master's
program, and is currently the Assistant Director of the Canadian Institute of Identities and
Migration, a division of the Association of Canadian Studies. Email: ashley.manuel@acs-aec.ca
****Maihemuti Dilimulati is a PhD student in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education
at McGill University. Email: maihemuti.dilimulati@mail.mcgill.ca
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Introduction
The global proliferation of violent events motivated by religious extremism is raising concerns
across all facets of society: they have communal, local, national, and international implications in
addition to threatening personal security. The security threat of terrorism permeates all sovereign
borders and is not a phenomenon that occurs 'over there' in the non-Western world. An example
is the London bombings of 7 July 2005 (known as 7/7) carried out by four British citizens, three
of who were British-born. This article focuses exclusively on religious extremism due to its
current crisis, although political and religious extremism have existed throughout history. In this
paper religious extremism is taken as a category; it does not discuss religion per se.
Religious extremism, particularly Islamist extremism is viewed so much as a threat that
religion courses are increasingly including political and security objectives. Even the Toledo
Guiding Principles on Teaching about Religions and Beliefs in Public Schools (2007) published
by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), regarding the teaching of
religious education in Europe have incorporated strategic and political aims (Gearon, 2013). It is
evident that the relationship between intelligence agencies, and communities and educational
institutions is getting stronger in recent years (Gearon, 2015).
With increasing frequency, youth in Canada, the United States, and many other Western
countries are reported to be actively involved in terrorist related activities around the globe
(Abarca 2014, Bell 2014, Mullen 2015, Petrou 2015, Scot 2014). A report from Public Safety
Canada indicates that in early 2014, approximately 160 Canadians were fighting alongside
foreign terrorist organizations, while an additional 80 are believed to have returned to Canada
(CBC News 2015b). Currently, more than 150 Americans are fighting with Islamic terrorist
groups in the Middle East (Martosko 2015). In 2015, in Montreal alone six college students (two
women and four men) are suspected to have left for Syria in January; in April, two students were
arrested and charged with wanting to join jihadists groups overseas; and in May, ten minors were
arrested at the airport on their way to join jihad (CBC News 2015a, Feith 2015).
Recent events in the United States, Canada and European countries have demonstrated that
religious extremism occurs within these Western countries as well when considering terrorist
activities such as the November 2015 attack in Paris, January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack in
Paris, the 2013 Boston Bombing, the plot to derail a VIA train from Toronto to New York in
2013, and the group known as the Toronto 18 who planned to detonate truck bombs in downtown
Toronto in 2006. These events and several more have involved young people who have attended
European, Canadian and American schools (see Goldman & Craig 2015).
There is nothing inherent in any religion or culture that either encourages terrorism or
prevents it from motivating violence (Ginsburg & Megahed 2003). The protection of collective
identities has been used by all religions to justify violent extremist actions. However, in the post-
9/11 context, Islam has become the focus of attention in relation to extremism. Terrorism is
neither confined to religious ideology nor to one religion, but since Islam is not concentrated in
any one geographical area and Muslims live worldwide the impact of Islamic extremism is more
global as compared to extremists among Hindus and Buddhists, for example. Moreover, there is
a tension between allegiance to one’s state and the pull of religion in the diaspora which may
clash. Much theorizing has been done on the process overall, but several questions remain:
Given similar conditions, why does one person become a religious extremist while another
person does not? Why does religious extremism continue to be on the rise rather than on the
decline? How do some seemingly well-adjusted and integrated young people commit terrorist
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acts at home and abroad and for what reasons? Who is an extremist: in whose eyes? One
person’s extremist may be another person’s hero. For example, while Mahatma Gandhi is
considered a hero in most parts of the world, there is a group of Hindu fundamentalists who
consider his assassin to be one worthy of praise. To celebrate the assassin's killing of Gandhi,
the Hindu Mahashabha1 is planning to erect statues across India and a temple to worship the
assassin. The issue of how a person is identified as an extremist/terrorist or a hero is
complex to say the least.
To better understand religious extremism, this paper starts with a brief discussion of the
significance of education to youth in their psycho-social and cognitive development. It presents
the contextual background of the Canadian government’s counter-terrorism policy and asks how
education can counter religious extremism. This paper proposes that education should be seen as
a valuable tool in countering religious extremism by building resilient communities through
critical, ethical, and active citizenship. After clarifying the differences among the terms
fundamentalism, extremism, radicalism, and terrorism, there is a discussion of push and pull
factors towards religious extremism to which the Canadian educational system should respond.
These factors identified in the literature guide our suggestions for pedagogical strategies to build
resilience in Canadian students.
Youth & Education
Youth
Those most susceptible to adopting extremist religious ideologies continue to be young people
between the ages of 15-25 who are at a developmental age where they seek to uncover their own
identity, look to bolster self-confidence and are in search of meaning in their lives (Bhui, Dinos,
Jones 2012, Manuel 2014). This age group is very action-oriented and is usually characterized
by higher risk-taking. Thus, there is a vital need and urgency to uncover this demographic
group’s perception of religious extremism and citizenship engagement, especially as young
Canadians and Americans continue to be disengaged from the civic sphere and lack an interest
in public affairs (Library of Parliament 2012).
In 2001, the Islamic University in Gaza polled 1000 local youth aged 9-16 years old and
found that 45 per cent of the students had actively participated in violence and 73 per cent
wanted to become martyrs (Holland 2003). Despite large social and political differences
between Gaza and Canada, the characteristics and trends among young students should not be
ignored. Al-Badayneh (2011) elaborates on this concern in his consideration of universities as
incubators for radicalization. His study on 190 students from Mutah University, Jordan found
that radical beliefs were highly concentrated on the ideas of martyrdom, violence, hatred, and
jihad. Al-Badayneh highlights the fertile and attractive nature of university students as they can
be easily molded into becoming vocal activists for a perceived social change as this age group
consists of identity seekers, protection seekers, and rebels with the vigour to cast their views
into the wider society (p. 40). He strongly suggests protective measures to be taken by
recognizing the university as an incubator for radicalism.
Education
When people think of terrorism, the typical solutions that come to mind involve expensive
government surveillance, intelligence gathering, and other coercive actions. The Canadian
government's national counter-terrorism strategy aims to stop a terrorist attack rather than
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prevent the development of radicalization. We argue here that the emphases in Canadian
counter-terrorism policies and programs thus far have been reactive rather than proactive and
suggest that education should be considered a significant aspect in countering terrorism.
Literature indicates that transformative behaviour is involved in the steps to religious extremism
and radicalization (Wilner & Dubouloz, 2011, Moghaddam 2005). As Gagné (2015a)
emphasizes, education should be at the heart of anti-radicalization plans. Thus, we suggest that
emphasis be placed on educating children for the development of life-long values, skills and
behaviours that would be conducive to their economic, social, and personal security by
developing resiliency in students. This long-term approach would be shaped by both curriculum
content and teaching methodology that fosters critical thinking and ethical behaviour which also
imply changes in teacher education programs. Most importantly, students must see the relevance
of what they learn, and be able to develop a critical understanding of the world. To a great
extent, this will pre-empt some of the triggers that push and pull them on to the dangerous path
towards radicalization as described below.
While we consider education’s role in countering religious extremism, many extremist
groups have already recognized the pivotal role of education and focus on education as a means
to promote their worldview. On the one hand, education that teaches extremist worldviews is
used to exclusively promote extremist ideologies, such as the Taliban controlled extremist
schools in Pakistan (Mirahmadi et al. 2015). On the other hand, extremist groups use social
media to recruit students at all levels of education with psychological, intellectual, and emotional
appeal. In addition, Western education is eliminated where possible to prevent the teaching of
non-Islamic ideology, such as the school attacks by Boko Haram (IRIN News 2012).
In this sense, youth are being radicalized by soft power because terrorist narratives and
ideas appeal directly to youth by winning their “sympathy, support, and admiration” (Samuel
2012, p. 5). As such, it is naïve to assume that this soft power, used to enlist both males and
females, can be met adequately with hard power –– coercive and aggressive state measures that
include military strategies and security tactics. These initiatives are reactive in their approach.
The cost of fighting Islamic terrorism is estimated to be between one and five trillion American
dollars (Biglan 2015). Despite a tremendous increase in cost and efforts towards countering
terrorism, increasing numbers of young people are being radicalized. Terrorist attacks have
grown by 300 per cent between 2007 and 2013 (Biglan 2015). In comparison, education is
significantly less expensive.
Education’s role is proactive and preventive rather than reactive to extremist ideologies.
Thus, the potential of education to both counter and promote religious extremism reinforces the
salient value and role of education overall. Hence, in order to counter violent extremist ideology
in the long-term, in a preventive, and cost-effective manner, education must be considered in the
discourse on terrorism. This form of education must promote a critical understanding of the
world and develop the values and skills of critical and resilient citizenship. As a matter of fact,
as Gagné (2015b) forcefully argues, secular societies must denounce radicalization; education’s
role is to enable citizens to critique all religious tradition that stifles human dignity.
The Canadian Government’s Counter-terrorism Policy
The current Canadian approach to countering terrorism entitled Building Resilience Against
Terrorism: Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy (2012) which focuses on four aspects -
prevent, detect, deny and respond neglects to mention the role education can play in preventing
extremism and in the development of a resilient community that would ensure public safety and
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harmony. Unlike the counter-terrorism measures in countries such as the United Kingdom,
which feature education in their terrorism related legislations and programs (United Kingdom
Parliament 2015), even Canada’s updated Counter Terrorism Bill C-51 tabled in May 2015
focuses on information sharing that is now subject to privacy limits, and to facilitate police
action in detaining suspected extremists. A few pilot projects like the Terrorism Prevent
Program (TPP) that focus on Mosques and community members are being tried but have not
been incorporated into policies
In the United Kingdom, a new counter-terrorism and security bill being debated in
parliament calls for educational institutions from nursery to post-secondary levels to offer a wide
range of knowledge and perspectives to develop students’ critical thinking skills and the ability
to make informed choices (Daily Hansard Debate 2014; Bradford’s Action Plan 2013). This Bill
includes students’ participation in monitoring, detecting, and intervening early signs and
behaviours towards radicalization (RT News 2015; Mendick & Verkaik 2015). While this kind of
policing activity would be greatly resisted in Canada, we need to acknowledge that education has
a major role to play in this area of security.
How can education counter religious extremism?
If education is a moral enterprise (Nord & Haynes 1998) that develops and shapes minds, the
phenomenon of home-grown terrorists should be a matter of utmost concern to educators. Some
scholars suggest that such challenges fall outside the scope of schools in which formal education
takes place, denying the political significance of this very important social institution
(Bascaramurty 2011). Although it is valid to state "schools should not have to shoulder the
burden of society's troubles," the reality is that these dilemmas surface within the classroom
since the school is a microcosm of society (Gereluk 2012, p. 90 cited in Manuel 2014). The issue
is not whether such topics should be discussed, “but rather an explicit expectation that they will
be” (Quartermaine 2014, p.6).
Given the preeminent role of schools and education in the development of a peaceful
and inclusive society (United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, 2006), there is an
urgent need to explore the role of formal education in challenging religious extremism before
beliefs become radicalized. Not all fundamentalists are extremists, nor do all extremists engage
in terrorist activities aimed at harming large numbers of people. Fundamentalism, extremism,
radicalism, and terrorism are stages in the development of political, religious, or ideological
beliefs that build on one other. The role of education is to short-circuit this evolution.
In North America, unlike the European Union, very little attention has been paid to the
role of education in countering violent extremism and terrorism. Currently, issues of religious
extremism and terrorism are not addressed within the North American formal education
systems. Failure to do so has prevented students from developing the ability to critically
analyze extremist views in order to counter radicalization.
In the United Kingdom (and other parts of Europe including the Netherlands, Germany,
and more recently France) national and local governments, based on current legislation, have
teamed up with educational institutions to develop and promote inclusive education in schools.
However, in North America, schools have not been incorporated in such a way because counter-
terrorism policies have not involved the educational sector.
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Burgeoning literature on extremism and radicalism
Literature indicates that low levels of education and impoverished backgrounds are not
characteristics of incarcerated extremists and terrorists (Davies 2008). The fact that many of the
terrorists have higher education degrees implies that they spend a long time in school.
Recently, the masked ISIS executioner called Jihadi John, who is responsible for several brutal
ISIS executions, was identified to be a British computer programmer who studied at the
University of Westminster, United Kingdom (Dearden 2015). Additionally, Anwar al-Awlaki,
leader of al-Qaida was in a PhD program at George Washington University before involving
himself in extremist movements (Brody 2015). There is also the question of whether extremist
groups target the recruitment of certain professionals such as medical doctors and engineers or if
these people are naturally pulled to extremist propaganda (Samuel 2012).
A major shortcoming in the increasing literature on fundamentalism, religious
extremism, radicalism and terrorism, is a dearth of empirical studies on the relation between
students and extremism, or of cognitive processes that involve identity transformation in
individuals who radicalize (Wilner & Dubouloz 2011). However, there are many studies on
media and terrorism (see Archetti 2012, Finch 2013, Lawrence et al. 2015). Furthermore, what is
most unfortunate is that even the programs for tackling radicalization that exist are not
adequately assessed.
One study by the United Kingdom Department for Communities and Local Government
(DCLG) assesses community interventions in their ability to tackle religious extremism. Entitled
Preventing Support for Violent Extremism through Community Interventions: A Review of the
Evidence, this is one of very few studies that assess programs that counter violent extremism
(Pratchett et al. 2010). The study found that the two most successful radicalization interventions
with young people were “capacity building or empowering young people” and interventions that
“challenged ideology that focused on theology and used education or training”. Education and
training in theology was also found to be successful in preventing violent religious extremism for
Muslim women, although interventions that allowed women to debate and discuss theological
issues were more successful.
The DCLG study highlighted the success of capacity-build and empowerment in
preventing support for violent religious extremism within the wider community. It also
emphasised that work delivered through outreach approaches was more successful than work
taking place in formal institutions. It highlighted the importance of non-prescriptive
education/training programs, where young people were able to “develop independent thinking or
research and leadership skills”, allowing them to question and challenge a range of knowledge
sources, including peers, radical groups and internet sites (2010).
Concepts
Part of the burgeoning literature focuses on understanding the phenomenon of terrorism by
exploring concepts such as fundamentalism and extremism. While often used interchangeably,
they are not the same. This section of the paper aims to raise awareness of the distinctions
between the terms of fundamentalism, extremism, radicalism and terrorism.
Originally, fundamentalists were Protestants in early twentieth century America who
sought to preserve the fundamentals of their religion. The modern day connotation is that of
intolerance of the other. All religions have fundamentalists, but since fundamentalism in
and of itself need not be a social or a security threat, the problem is the move to extremism as
fundamentalists may be predisposed to extreme positions (Davies 2009). Education can
8
respond to the shift in this position, which can be potentially dangerous to social security, by
facilitating a learning process that is empowering to students.
Desmond Tutu defines extremism as when you do not allow for a different point of
view; when you hold your own views as being quite exclusive; when you don’t allow for the
possibility of difference” (quoted in Davies, 2009, p.4). Extremism then, is the rejection of other
perspectives. When this bent of mind leads to a moral hierarchy, whereby extreme positions are
justified on moral grounds, the stage of radicalism begins.
Radicalism is central to homegrown Islamist terrorism, which is today the most pressing
security threat in the Western world. It is both a mental and emotional process that can prepare
and motivate an individual to pursue violent behavior (Wilner & Dubouloz 2011).
Radicalization sets off a process of change in the individual’s psycho-cognitive construction of
new identities that is a part of the changes in behaviour associated with this stage. Moreover,
there are different degrees of radicalization.
Radicalization may be followed by terrorist acts. This progression is a complex mix of
politics and religion in the contemporary world because of the politicization of religion, like
political Islam, Jewish extremism, as well as Christian, Hindu and Buddhist fundamentalism.
In an analysis of hundreds of suicide bombers over 25 years, Pape (2005) concludes that
religion is rarely the root cause” (p.4). The goals are political (Institute for Economics and
Peace 2014). Rather, exploitation of religious identity among young people feeds into political
polarisation (Sen 2006). While all terrorists are extremists all extremists do not become
terrorists. Only rarely do extremism and radicalism lead to terrorism and violence.
Terrorism may be defined as an act committed for a political, religious, or ideological
purpose with the intention of intimidating the public and threatening its security (Criminal Code
1985). Elworthy and Rifkind (2006) refer to terrorism as a tactic: “(it is) the level of anger and
hate that drives people to join their ranks. It is that anger and hate which must be addressed”
(p.26). However, the motivations may not be limited to anger and hatred, an d terrorists may
also work for what they imagine to be a common good, a moral cause, a belief in a moral
superiority that distinguishes them from other kinds of violence. This moral good” must be
tackled through a critical stance.
Security experts have described terrorism as a political act against governments and
innocent civilians. Since extremism and terrorism are justified on moral grounds, they pose a
particular challenge to educators. What is critical at all stages is transformative behaviour. The
lone-wolf terrorist an individual who commits a violent act alone either out of anger or hatred
against some group or in support of an extremist belief may or may not follow the stages that
generally lead to transformative behaviour but, among many cases that have been studied, the
progression towards terrorism tends to follow the phases explained below (Silber and Bhatt,
2007). However, when acting alone and instigated by various reasons that may not include
religious extremism, it is unsafe to assume that the lone-wolf terrorist will necessarily follow
these stages.
Explaining Stages in Transformative Behaviour: The Theory
Wilner and Dubouloz (2011) point to the critical importance of taking action in the
transformative learning process because it not only involves a sense of empowerment, but also a
critical understanding of the way in which social relations and culture have shaped an
individual’s beliefs and feelings, and eventually the development of strategies for transformed
behaviour in quotidian activities. As a transformative phenomenon, radicalization happens
9
suddenly or over a period of time through the trigger phase, the process of change phase, and the
outcome phase.
Moghaddam (2005) uses the metaphor of a narrowing staircase to describe the path to
terrorism. We look at this phenomenon in similar fashion as progressing from fundamentalism
to extremism, to radicalism and terrorism. The staircase progressively narrows as less
people are persuaded to climb to the top and commit acts of violence. Everyone must be
prevented from climbing the staircase.
Figure 1. The staircase to terrorism (Moghaddam, 2005)
Educators must have the appropriate tools to recognize, understand, and address the psycho-
social factors that may lead to any stage in the path to terrorism. To do so, teachers and
community members must recognize the push and pull factors towards radicalization to ensure a
safe learning environment for students.
Possible causes for engaging in extremist behaviour
Push and pull factors that exist both marginalize and entice those who are attracted to extremist
ideologies. Individuals climb the first step in the staircase due to push factors such as:
A threat to individual and collective identity which occurs when one feels that one’s
ethnicity, culture or religion are threatened at a personal or group level. Furthermore,
psychological research points to the fundamental importance of perceived deprivation
and threats to personal or collective identity (Taylor 1994), which has been identified as
a possible cause of violence. A challenge to ones identity is of particular significance in
the case of religious extremists because of the unique ability of religion to serve identity
needs (Seul 1999). Perceived threats to both personal and collective identities result in
alienation or humiliation leading to hatred and anger, and poses challenges to human
security (see Bhui, Dinos, and Jones 2012).
Marginalization from mainstream society when one is not recognised or misrecognised
(Taylor 1997) as a member of a social group, such as in instances of discrimination,
segregation, or bullying (Keddie 1998). This results in marginalization from mainstream
society and may contribute to fundamentalism and radicalization evolving into terrorism
(Bhui et al. 2012).
A feeling of ideological necessity when one is moved by the plight of the group one
identifies with, especially when one views mistreatment towards the group. Some young
people experience a profound "sense of injustice" with what they see going on in Syria at
this time. They may think or be convinced to think that it is their sacred duty to take
revenge (Bhui et al. 2012). Recently in Bangladesh, a secularist blogger was hacked to
death by students from extremist madrassas (Islamic schools) at the instigation of an
Terrorism
Radicalism
Extremism
Fundamentalism
acquaintance who objected to the anti-Islamist sentiments in the blogs. But the killers
themselves had not read the blogs (Barry 2015).
Looking for revenge and hatred against a group such as that towards Western nations for
invading Afghanistan or Iraq, which leads radicalized individuals to believe that murder
is justified and killing the enemy (even civilians) is morally right (see Lindon and
Klandermans 2006).
A politically or religiously motivated stance by using religion as a socio-political guide
for one’s actions. Generally, Western radicals are less versed in theology than their
international counterparts and are poorly equipped to appreciate the intricate nuances of
their religious beliefs. As the forces of globalization (modernization, urbanization,
secularism, displacement, hi-tech communications, and so on) create tensions for young
Western Muslims, radicalization is one way disenfranchised Western Muslim youths
have gone about reasserting their religious identity within non-Muslim contexts (Roy
2004).
Looking for meaning in life occurs when individuals seek significance and a reason for
living. Extremist propaganda addresses this void successfully, such as those more
vulnerable as a result of depression (Kruglansky & Webber 2014). Other reasons include
personal tragedy and boredom which can lead individuals to seek a meaning in life.
o For some, a personal tragedy may prompt a break with one’s life towards radical
ideology as for example, brought about by the death of a loved one (Bhui et al. 2012,
Saunders 2012).
o Boredom can be a trigger for some who belong to comfortable backgrounds and have
had everything in life. Some supporters of Islamic terrorism, for example, are neither
alienated nor deprived but are seeking adventure through affiliation with the goals of
terrorist groups. For these individuals who seek excitement and adventure, the thrill
of using weapons is seen to be “cool” (Samuel 2012, p.12).
Globalization encourages religious fundamentalism by facilitating the global reach of
terrorist organizations. Ştibli (2010) points out that the Islamic terrorist networks are
unique in their global reach and decentralized nature that penetrates political boundaries
in their spread of propaganda and recruitment through very flexible and mobile networks.
Technology and media bring news and ideas that appeal to one’s imagination. For
example, in Jihadist and the Internet, the Dutch National Coordinator for
Counterterrorism (2009) reaffirms that terrorist and extremist websites contribute to the
process of radicalization through ideology formation, ideology reinforcement and
ideological indoctrination(p.10). The multilingual character of these websites appeals
to both regional and diaspora communities to virtually connect easily in a way that was
unthinkable before the globalization of technology. In addition, the speed with which
information flows, and the anonymity it provides makes cyberspace an empowering, less
inhibiting and safe place.
Underlying, enduring, and systemic inequalities may also lead an individual to
radicalized or violent responses in order to attain the basic securities they need. Such
daily concerns over fundamental human security include the “provision of clean drinking
water, education, vaccination programs, provision of food and shelter, and protection
from violence, military or otherwise” (Benavides et al. 2011, p. 204)
Any one, but usually an interaction of these factors, can put an individual on to the first step in
the staircase. It is only when one is on the first step that pull factors have an impact. Some pull
factors when considering religious extremism include:
Media stories and messages depicting the West as the source of evil, immorality and
inequality. These narratives allure individuals and aim to evoke sympathy in vulnerable
individuals who may not be familiar with the complexities of the situations. These
narratives reinforce existing ideological beliefs in some individuals. Additionally, some
extremist groups take advantage of poverty, unemployment, and a lack of education to
lure potential recruits and justify violent acts (Ersen & Kibaroğlu 2011)
Peer group pressure has tremendous influence to convert many young men and women
in schools and universities to extremism and radicalization, such as the example of the
three UK high school friends who left for Syria together (Elgot 2015).
Several radicalized groups mindfully cast out a network of local radicalized recruiters to
instigate, convince, and recruit young and vulnerable youth to commit crimes in the name
of religion. Radical lectures, sermons or speeches are shared digitally and in-person to
propagate extremist views, such as Al Qaida which has radical religious leaders
worldwide (Braniff, 2015).
Promises of a better or more purposed life entice youth and individuals who seek a
meaning and purpose to their life. Messages may include beautiful promises of an
afterlife that would be achieved only through self-sacrifice, martyrdom or killing people
in the name of God (Anderson 2006). As Juergensmeyer (2000) points out, the idea of
violence as performance (with obvious connections to religious ritual) is a symbol within
a cosmic war, where the casualties of suicide bombers become martyrs and their
opponents are demonized.
Education must address both those who are at risk, and those students whose actions may,
deliberately or inadvertently, marginalize the other. Together, they push and pull one another
into their respective corners, perpetuate their extrapolating perspectives, and lead some
towards the staircase to terrorism. To attenuate the tension, education must and can address
both groups of students.
Possible ways education can build resilient communities
As globalized societies become increasingly multicultural and multi-religious, there is a
tendency for homogeneity in some cultural aspects and marginalization of certain
individuals. This can induce psycho-cognitive and behavioural transformation to
fundamentalism. Education can bridge this gap through discussions of extremism,
radicalism and other sensitive issues that are problems in society. The following are four
applicable approaches for the Canadian education system to consider for good education but
which will act as means to counter violent religious extremism:
1. Promote values of citizenship and diversity. Citizenship education must instil both a strong
sense of affiliation to the state, as well as develop a vision for the common good keeping in
mind the diversity of the society. There is an urgent need to explore the role of formal
education in working towards a strong sense of “belonging” and citizenship that makes
communities resilient to developing violent ideologies (HM Government 2011). However,
as societies are increasingly diverse, schools should develop an understanding of
‘difference’ via education so that those who are ‘different’ can have positive identities and
self-concept and develop this sense of “belonging”. As bell hooks (2000), an American
author, feminist, and social activist says, we do not need to eradicate difference to feel
solidarity” (p. 67). Understanding, respecting, and appreciation difference, not its eradication
or non-recognition, should become a bridge to human connection.
Specifically, critical citizenship education should be incorporated to foster an
understanding of vulnerability and human security. Through human rights and critical
citizenship education we can understand and define human connection, which is the
emotional core of human identity. The potential clash of allegiance to the state versus that to
Islam faced by students in many non-Muslim countries needs to be tackled with discussions
of multiple identities and how to prioritize them. Schools must help young people become
critical thinkers and question normalized and taken for granted behaviour (through critical
media and religious literacy) (Gagné, 2015b). Resilience to extremist views must be built
and students need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to not just ignore, but argue
against extremist positions. Education should aim to develop in students the ability and the
disposition to arrive independently at critical and informed opinions, such as education’s
important aim to safe-guard students from drugs, gang violence and violent ideologies.
This form of quality citizenship education is deeply concerned with student experiences
and religious identity construction so that they are not marginalized and pushed further
away from their social surroundings whereby they seek a sense of belonging among
fringe activities and groups. Diversity education along with religious literacy will produce
a civil and informed electorate essential for democratic participation and social/domestic
violence prevention.
2. Critical education to develop an understanding of history and power relations in society:
The importance of training students to think historically is related to the fact that it equips
students with the conceptual and methodological tools that will equip them for daily social
issues in today’s multicultural realities. More importantly, by recognizing and
acknowledging the historical influences and power relations embedded in society, students
develop and practice the habits of mind that are vital for critical citizenship, one that aims to
reconstruct society to be just and democratic for all (Tsagkaraki 2015). A critical view of
the perfect world order’ is essential so that meaningful relationships can enable one to make
comparative judgments. This can prevent simplistic binary understandings (good/bad) and
absolutist views, which are used by extremists but they can be challenged by critical and
relational thinking to make way for accepting alternative worldviews and ‘the other’.
3. Religious literacy to promote knowledge of the other. Moore (2006) defines religious
literacy as the ability to discern through multiple lenses and analyze the convergence of
religious, social, political, and cultural spheres that have occurred throughout history. In
doing so, religious literacy respects diversity but can recognize that certain cultural
beliefs are dehumanizing. This ability to discern the interplay of religious, social, political,
and cultural factors is essential in avoiding confrontation about religious ideology (as
opposed to spirituality). Religious literacy can foster the spaces to develop the moral stance
necessary to recognize the other. We will not discuss here the dangers of misrepresenting
religious education for indoctrination and other political ends given the limitations of this
paper.
4. Media literacy: The unpredictable nature of terrorist acts, permeability of national borders,
and recruitment of youth from various socio-economic, religious, cultural and educational
backgrounds make digital media the main and occasionally only source for accessing
information on extremist ideologies. There is a symbiotic relationship between terrorists and
the media: on the one hand terrorists thrive on the ‘oxygen of publicity’ (Biglan 2015,
Wilkinson 1997); on the other hand, in a fiercely competitive media environment, media
outlets scramble to cover the events (Nacos 2007) and unwittingly help publicize the
message of the enemy. Given the dangerous dependency between terrorism and the media
it is imperative to explore the impact of digital media messages in the personal realm of
students. These narratives appeal to the emotions and can drive individuals and vulnerable
youth towards extremist causes. Uncritical consumption of digital media and a lack of
critical media consciousness among the population, especially among potential youth
recruits pose an unprecedented danger to the security of Western nations.
The messages from extremist groups appear through digital media and in the last decade, we
have witnessed the increased influence of interactive social media in particular. In a decade
long study, Weimann (2012) found that 90 per cent of organized terrorism online takes place via
social media. These groups spread their message, gather information and recruit members
through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and several other social media outlets on the Internet. The
role of social media in extremist propaganda is still being explored: Berger and Morgan (2015)
point out there is an information vacuum regarding the effectiveness of highly organized online
activities. Moreover, the examination of small subsets of users may create misleading
conclusions.
Our belief is that critical education, especially Critical Citizenship and Human Rights
education, media and religious literacy can be effective in the prevention of extremist religious
views and we ar gue that additional focus on extremism is required in existing curriculum
material that covers citizenship, multicultural and social cohesion issues as well as religion and
ethics courses. Furthermore, it has been argued that a narrative and curriculum specifically
directed against the narratives of the extremist ideologies should be developed to counter
religious extremism. The curriculum should develop awareness of dangers involved in the
extremist propaganda for students, and expose students to their vulnerabilities to “the seductive
character of a Utopian worldview” (Sieckelinck, Kaulingfreks & De Winter 2015, 339). The
following section describes specific teaching methods that can foster these four approaches.
Teaching methods: The need to challenge beliefs before they become radicalized
Given that education is a tool to combat ignorance and develop critical thinking, critical
pedagogy offers a platform to study how terrorism can be combated. This is done by using
action-orientated methods of teaching aimed at developing the critical abilities of children to
actively engage in and question the world around them. This ability to analyze and question
ideas and content is particularly valuable when preventing the development of extremist beliefs
that could potentially lead to terrorism.
The interpretive approach (Jackson 1997) encourages students and teachers alike to
understand various representations of a religious group and the nuanced beliefs and practices
within and among each group, critique and understand the interpretations they are presented
with, and reflect on their personal interpretations and understanding of each group. Using this
approach teachers can be guided to critically engage students to consider the nature of religious
extremism and its outcomes. Students develop their understanding by oscillating between their
own concepts and experiences and those of others. The failure to explore varieties of
interpretations could prevent students from engaging critically with absolute claims to truth and
good, two essential elements in the belief systems of terrorists. Reassessing the students own
way of life through a new understanding, and critically thinking about the views of others should
be part of the social construct of every classroom (Miller 2013). This can also provide an
effective method of countering extremist beliefs given that alienation and threats to ones
identity are significant in the development of radicalism, which may potentially lead to violence.
The interpretive approach minimizes isolation as students dialogue with and learn from each
other. Critical perspectives would be enriched with Relational Theorizing by focusing on the
relational aspect of human identity since identity is formed through relationships (Ross 2013).
Knowledge of the other involves a moral position based on the recognition of the importance of
responsibility as well as empathy, and moral responsiveness and is not merely a cognitive
function. Education must have a moral purpose, a moral stance, particularly at this point in the
history of a world that is terrorized.
Teacher education
Any discussion of ideologies necessarily involves the values and beliefs of teachers themselves.
It is therefore imperative for teachers to be introspective and look into their own worldviews and
biases before they facilitate students in examining their own beliefs. In consideration of
Jackson’s interpretive approach, teachers must understand some of the complexities of
extremism and be able to analyze and discern the various representations that exist among
extremists, interpret the content in social media and their given resources themselves, and reflect
on their personal understanding of issues alongside their students. In doing so, educators are
better equipped to guide students through a similar practice of critique, inquiry, and reflexivity.
Currently, Canadian teachers are not adequately trained and prepared to discuss
controversial issues in the classroom and approach sensitive topics that are politically charged
(Manuel 2014), such as religious extremism in the classroom and in the school environment
despite occurrences of Canadian youth involvement in terrorist activities. Research indicates
that teachers avoid such topics in class because they are uncomfortable and unsure of how to
establish ground rules for discussion. Nor can they refer to pedagogical resources because,
unlike some European countries that provide teachers with guidance material on such issues,
there is presently nothing in Canada to aid teachers.
Conclusion
This paper argues that education should be an important component complementing counter-
terrorism policies. Terrorism is the extreme end of a number of psycho-social stages which
progresses from fundamentalism to extremism to radicalization, and finally a violent act aimed at
instilling fear and terror in governments and the general public. The home-grown extremist is a
matter of concern for Western countries like Canada and the United States of America. It is
unlikely that a single theory can integrate all the different reasons that make a person an
extremist or a terrorist.
The fact that religious extremism has provoked youth who have been educated in
Western nations to carry out terrorist acts in their countries, the most recent being the Paris
bombings in November 2015, should be a matter of great concern to policy makers and to
educators. This paper proposes a focus on education’s role as a proactive means of short-
circuiting the progression through the stages from fundamentalism to extremism. It enumerates
the possible causes why youth are attracted by the narratives of radical organizations as
identified in the literature and suggests pedagogical methods in education for building resilient
communities.
The critical question is: why does one person become radicalised and another does not?
Individuals process knowledge in different ways, radicalize in different ways and for different
purposes. Since 9/11 the literature on terrorism and preventive counter-terrorism programs have
burgeoned. However, most of this literature does not deal with the psycho-cognitive changes
that individuals experience in different ways. Education can help students in the transformative
process to channel their anxieties away from oppositional behaviour towards creative
endeavours. Schools need to work with the community and parents to critically challenge
religious extremism before beliefs are radicalized. Once extremist positions have developed, de-
radicalization is a long-term process that involves deconstructing complex ideologies.
Given the continuing and exponential rise in religious extremism one must ask why so
many non-formal and surveillance efforts and so much money to prevent extremism have had
negligible effects. One reason is that a long-term approach such as education cannot have
immediate effects, and existing non-formal programs are difficult to assess because randomized
trials are problematic in education. To be effective the right kind of educational measures will
have to run their course to make a difference.
Notes
1. The Hindu Mahasabha is closely associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(RSS), a right-wing Hindu nationalist voluntary non-governmental organization which in
turn is associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political party currently in
power in India.
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to Islamist radicalization. Studies in conflict & terrorism, 34 (5), 418-438.
... In fact, the adaptation process for immigrant young people seems rather complex. Therefore, factors that are relevant for their positive adaptation should be examined because maladaptation might result in psychological problems or externalizing behaviours which, in their more drastic forms, could lead to radicalization (Borum, 2014;Ghosh et al., 2016). ...
... In their review of reasons for engagement in extremist behaviour, Ghosh et al. (2016) come to the conclusion that a threat to individual and collective identity and marginalization from mainstream society by way of discrimination, segregation, or bullying can all promote deviant conduct. In many cases, radicalization seems to be a response to a lack of meaning in life or to the experience of enduring and systemic inequalities (Ghosh et al., 2016). ...
... In their review of reasons for engagement in extremist behaviour, Ghosh et al. (2016) come to the conclusion that a threat to individual and collective identity and marginalization from mainstream society by way of discrimination, segregation, or bullying can all promote deviant conduct. In many cases, radicalization seems to be a response to a lack of meaning in life or to the experience of enduring and systemic inequalities (Ghosh et al., 2016). When looking at violent extremists, Borum (2014) points to specific psychological vulnerabilities of this group; violent extremist young people are in search of personal meaning and identity and in need of a sense of belonging. ...
Chapter
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Acculturation processes generally follow complex patterns and differ between cultural groups and contexts. Being a member of an ethnic minority can have a lifelong impact on an individual’s identity and often causes psychological distress due to prejudices towards and discrimination against minority groups. Minority young people, who fre- quently struggle with their identity development, particularly suffer from perceived discrimination. They might lack a sense of belonging to the majority culture which, in turn, can have an impact on their self-esteem. Experiences of discrimination might lead to internalizing outcomes, like a decrease in well-being, as well as to external- izing outcomes, like anger or radicalization. Self-esteem can be affected by experi- ences of discrimination, but it might also be a buffer against the negative outcomes of discrimination experiences. The construction of one’s identity is a dominant issue in young people’s development in general; it can be especially challenging for minority young people during their acculturation process. Therefore, this chapter analyzes the relevance of individual and group-related perceived discrimination and national and ethnic identity on the self-esteem of minority young people using exploratory multiple linear regression. Results suggest that individually perceived ethnic discrimination, ethnic identity and hence the sensitivity to group-based discrimination can be rel- evant predictors of minority students’ levels of self-esteem. Implications for teaching are discussed.
... (Pels & de Ruyter, 2012, p. 313) Political and religious radicalization and extremism pose a threat to the stability of democratic societies (e.g. Ghosh et al., 2017). Both the term extremism and the term radicalization have been defined in various ways (Beelmann, 2020), but a generalized specific terminology has not yet been developed (Lösel et al., 2018). ...
... Although not all extremism is violent (Knight et al., 2019), there seems to be a danger that, given certain circumstances, violent means might be employed by individuals and groups to achieve their goals, resulting, in extreme cases, in terrorist attacks (e.g. Ghosh et al., 2017). Drawing on Moghaddam's (2005) metaphor of the 'staircase to terrorism' , Ghosh et al. (2017) describe a stage model of transformative behaviour with fundamentalism at the bottom, followed by extremism, radicalism and, finally, terrorism in a sequence of continuously narrowing steps. ...
... Ghosh et al., 2017). Drawing on Moghaddam's (2005) metaphor of the 'staircase to terrorism' , Ghosh et al. (2017) describe a stage model of transformative behaviour with fundamentalism at the bottom, followed by extremism, radicalism and, finally, terrorism in a sequence of continuously narrowing steps. The continuous narrowing of the steps represents the decreasing number of people who can be persuaded to continue 'climbing' . ...
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Recent research suggests that radicalization must be seen as a process that evolves over time and that starts in childhood. According to Beelmann’s (2020) social-developmental model, the interplay between risk and protective factors in childhood and early adolescence impacts whether and how proximal radicalization processes, among them the acquisition of political or religious extremist ideologies, will be triggered. Some studies suggest that negative social relationships at school contribute to students’ risk for radicalization in addition to sociodemographic, education-related, and personality-related factors. Against this background, we investigated the relative contribution of the quality of relationships at school (student–teacher, student–student, victimization) to predicting pre-extremist attitudes in a normative sample of adolescents. We used the German data from the 2016 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study involving 1,451 eighth-grade students (mean age = 14.29; 52% girls). Bivariate associations for relationship quality and pre-extremist attitudes (religion being more important than national politics and laws) were very small. Hierarchical regressions indicated that being a Muslim, being a Christian, and frequently attending religious services each positively predicted pre-extremist attitudes. However, being a Muslim and attending religious services frequently strongly negatively predicted pre-extremist attitudes. This finding confirms earlier research indicating that Muslims’ intense religious practice may act as a protective factor against religious extremism and radicalization. Civic knowledge and socioeconomic status were found to be negative predictors of pre-extremist attitudes. Results are discussed from a combined developmental and educational perspective.
... During the past two decades, political and religious extremism and radicalization have posed ever-increasing levels of challenge for countries and democratic societies in Europe and around the world (see also Ghosh et al., 2017). Various definitions exist for both extremism and radicalization, and researchers deplore the lack of a generally accepted precise terminology (Lösel et al., 2018). ...
... Beelmann, 2020;Nivette et al., 2017). Various models describe radicalization as a process that develops and intensifies over time; these models increasingly consider the role of social and societal influences in this process and ascribe education an important role in preventing this process from occurring in the first place (Beelmann, 2020;Ghosh et al., 2017;Moghaddam, 2005). ...
... It introduces core concepts and offers initial insights into the complex dynamics between individual and contextual factors in contributing towards the development of radical beliefs, intentions, and behaviours. The second paper is by Ghosh et al. (2017). It addresses the role of education in preventing radicalization and religious extremism. ...
... Critical thinking abilities are used to assess various types of information, including communications, ideas, and content. Questioning the source of information and examining its substance is a part of this process (Ghosh et al., 2017). Mattsson and Säljö (2018) are critical of the influence that extremism debate has had in educational institutions. ...
... According to Miller, the human rights agenda offers a chance to construct a framework of common principles on which a democratic society may grow morally (Miller, 2013). According to the authors, if young people are taught about human privileges and the ideals of citizenship and diversity, they will be better capable of speaking out against extremism (Ghosh et al., 2017). Overall, this concentration on civil liberties is linked to reasoning skills; as stated above, civil liberties are regarded as providing the basic basis on which critical thinking skills may be built. ...
... Need of both conversation and debate is emphasized all over the literature, with requests for "critical discussion" (Quartermaine, 2016), "difficult dialog" (Mcdonald, 2011), and "extremism-related talks" (Amit et al., 2021;Ghosh et al., 2017), "frank and candid talk" (Taylor & Soni, 2017), "open political debate and discussion" (Thomas, 2016), and "nonjudgmental discussion" (Liht & Savage, 2013). One of the most notable functions given to debate in the literature is the establishment of space and the prospect of examining and criticizing ideas. ...
Article
Introduction: In recent years, violent extremism (VE) attacks have escalated worldwide. More schools and students are being attacked. Examining and addressing VE core causes through preventing VE (PVE) strategies can help avoid future atrocities. Due to the tremendous proliferation of research geared toward PVE, an extensive but disorganized knowledge review has accumulated in recent years. The review aims to discover several common themes and strategies across different disciplines and suggests resilience approaches might be the effective framework for PVE worldwide. Methods: This study followed the guidelines provided by PRISMA. A systematic literature review on 81 articles was conducted in January 2022, with a screening approach starting from the title, abstract and finally, full articles. Results: Seventeen studies were identified with a total sample of 2415 vulnerable young adults, age range: 16-29, male: 68.65% and female 31.35% mainly influenced VE pursuits through internet, TV and social media. In addition, the study identified that for PVE, individual actions would include ineffective approaches compared to a group approach starting from family to educational institutions. Conclusions: The effective PVE will be ensured by developing strategies for resilient individuals and dialoguing from the social-ecological perspective for taking practical actions in reducing VE activities.
... Besides predicting radicalism, life meaningfulness was more predictive by its squared or extreme form. Such enhanced prediction reflects that extreme life meaningfulness is meaningful and conducive to rationalism, which is similarly extreme (Elshimi, 2017;Ghosh et al., 2017). The reflection testifies consistent meaning maintenance in existentialist theory (Proulx, 2013). ...
... Simultaneously, the downplaying applies to anger, hatred, and humiliation (Cosic et al., 2018). The prioritizing and downplaying rely on education, abd employment reformed to cultivate and realize meanings about collaboration, inclusiveness, moderation, and respect, as opposed to absolutism (Ghosh et al., 2017;Richter et al., 2020;Susilo & Dalimunthe, 2019). More specifically, meanings about aging or maturation, marriage, and family income, which discouraged rationalism, are worthwhile to advance personal, interpersonal, and family development concerning reasoning, mutuality, and sharing in youth (Cotterell, 2007;M. ...
Article
According to significance quest theory, radicalism arises from a deficit in life meaningfulness. However, radicalism springs from life meaningfulness, according to meaning maintenance and other principles in existentialist How life meaningfulness predicts radicalism is thus a research question. This study addresses the question with a survey of 4,385 youths in Hong Kong, China. Results indicate that life meaningfulness positively predicted radicalism, slightly more positively when radicalism in the previous year had been higher. Meanwhile, education, employment, and native status positively predicted radicalism and life meaningfulness, showing their homology in meaning sources. These results imply that radicalism prevention needs to reform the meaning basis for life meaningfulness to be socially desirable.
... This might help to establish connectedness and belonging and thus prevent susceptibility to radical or extreme movements or groups. By further fostering values of citizenship and diversity and by acknowledging and valuing differences, the presented intervention is also in line with recommendations on how education and interventions in educational contexts can help build resilience against radicalization and extremism (Ghosh et al., 2017). ...
Chapter
The increasing cultural and ethnic diversity in Europe can enrich its societies with intercultural friendships and exchange. The positive integration of individuals who have experienced forced migration depends on a successful process of psychosocial adjustment and the intercultural openness of the society of destination. Childhood is a particularly crucial stage in the development of ethnic prejudices, and measures for preventing prejudices and fostering tolerance should therefore start at this early age. Based on an exemplary intervention study, this chapter shows how intergroup contact combined with social competence training can reduce prejudices and increase tolerance both, for majority and minority groups.
... The susceptibility for wanting to climb the staircase is driven not just by specific personal conditions like poverty, little access to resources, or experiences of injustice, but may also be linked to group properties like nationality, religion, or ideas on societal constitution. Push and pull factors (Ghosh et al., 2016) influence this process; however, the individual person remains the responsible actor, and everyone may be tempted. The whole process can be imagined as a path with many branches. ...
Chapter
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The didactical tool Values and Knowledge Education (VaKE) combines values education in the tradition of Kohlberg with knowledge acquisition through inquiry-based learning on a constructivist basis. The claim is that this method can provide integration competencies and hence contribute to fostering dispositions for courageous non-violent engagement. The prototypical VaKE steps need to be adapted to specific audiences and conditions. Two studies are presented in which VaKE was tested with Muslim immigrants: the first one with a small group of unaccompanied male minors, the second with ninety-five female refugees. In both studies, the participants declared to be highly satisfied with the experience. In the first study, the workshop had to be extended from the planned three half-days to four sessions at the participants' request, and the participants acquired many competences, culminating in their decision to implement a democratic structure. In the second study, after two half-days of workshop sessions, the participants were asked to take behaviour resolutions and to act accordingly between the second and the third half-days, which most of them achieved successfully. Results show that VaKE had positive effects. It is possible to conclude that VaKE is a promising intervention for promoting successful integration and for preventing terrorist orientations in those who have participated.
... M. Tariq, 2011) stated that although terrorists use the name of Islam, in reality, Islam is the religion of peace and strictly denies violence. (Ghosh, Chan, Manuel, & Dilimulati, 2017) Concluded that extremism and violence is a global issue and it can be controlled through quality education. (Afzal, Iqbal, & Inayay, 2012) Pakistan is facing extremism, terrorism, and violence, which is worsening day by day. ...
Article
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Social Media is being used throughout the world to voice opinions that are usually not acceptable in a society that ultimately leads to social change. However, in a religiously conservative society like Pakistan, this scenario is entirely different, people are not only openly condemned, threatened but are also killed for voicing their opinions when it comes to highly controversial and sensitive religious issues. This study focuses on the university-going youth of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan-the province which is most affected by such measures. Researchers applied quantitative methods in the form of a survey questionnaire and qualitative method in the form of in-depth interviews to study if young Pashtuns feel confident in voicing their opinions on social media or they remain silent for the fear of not just isolation or being rebuked but for the life-threatening part of it. The findings conclude that the young Pashtuns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are living in a Digital Spiral of Silence due to fear of isolation and physical harm.
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Buku ini mengkaji berbagai permasalahan dalam praktik sosial-keagamaan yang terjadi di kalangan masya�rakat Indonesia, khususnya terkait isu penyesatan, yang mewujud dalam tuduhan sesat suatu kelompok tertentu terhadap kelompok lainnya, yang diakibatkan oleh ketidak�sepahaman mereka dalam hal bermadzhab dan memaknai berbagai teks keagamaan (terutama pada teks-teks primer berbahasa Arab). Bagi penulis, berbagai bentuk tuduhan maupun klaim sesat terhadap suatu kelompok dari kelompok lainnya dinilai cukup meresahkan, sebab tuduhan tersebut dalam skala tertentu dapat memicu konflik horizontal di tengah masyarakat dan akan menimbulkan berbagai permasalahan sosial lainnya seperti marjinalisasi, perundungan, dan sebagainya. Lebih mengkhawatirkan lagi, sering kali tuduhan sesat tersebut hanya didasarkan pada pemahaman atas teks-teks keagamaan yang relatif dangkal dan rigid semata, tanpa mempertimbangkan konteks dari teks-teks keagamaan tersebut. Padahal, apabila kita kaji kembali secara lebih dalam, tuduhan-tuduhan tersebut tentu tidak dapat dibenarkan, atau setidaknya tidak layak untuk diproklamirkan di khalayak umum dalam berbagai media sebagai bentuk penghakiman (judgement). Sebab, selain memang pada hakikatnya klaim “sesat” atau bukan ada pada wilayah prerogatif Tuhan (Allah SWT) semata, untuk dapat meng�klaim sebuah kelompok tergolong sebagai kelompok yang “sesat” tersebut juga memerlukan pemahaman atas teks-teks keagamaan beserta konteksnya yang luas, utuh, dan kom�prehensif (mencakup berbagai aspek kehidupan). Dengan menyadari hal tersebut, maka kelompok-kelompok tersebut tentu tidak akan mudah mengklaim bahwa mereka adalah yang kelompok paling benar dan paling suci, sedangkan kelompok yang tidak sejalan mereka secara otomatis dianggap sesat. Buku ini merupakan manifestasi dan tindak lanjut dari hasil penelitian hibah penugasan dari Fakultas Sastra Universitas Negeri Malang yang telah diselesaikan pada tahun 2020 tentang perspektif mahasiswa terhadap beberapa istilah (terma) keagamaan Islam dalam Bahasa Arab yang masih kerap disalahpahami dan diperdebatkan (studi pada terma Jihad, Khilafah, dan Bid’ah). Setelah melalui beberapa diskusi dengan tim peneliti dan menerima masukan dari berbagai pihak terkait, selanjutnya kami berikhtiar untuk mewujudkan hasil penelitian tersebut ke dalam sebuah buku referensi yang dapat dimanfaatkan tidak hanya oleh mahasiswa saja sebagai agen perubahan di masa mendatang, tetapi juga dapat dimanfaatkan oleh khalayak atau masyarakat secara umum sebagai bekal pemahaman atas berbagai permasalahan keagamaan yang kerap kali ditimbulkan dari adanya miskonsepsi terhadap beberapa terma keagamaan Islam, terutama terma-terma dalam bahasa Arab.
Article
The Prevent Duty mandates that public authorities must work to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. In this article we review how 158 UK Higher Education Institutions have responded to this new duty by examining their public-facing webpages and Prevent policy documentation. In doing this we draw upon de Certeau’s notions of the everyday to highlight how such initiatives are presented publicly to viewing audiences, and how messages seep into and deepen security measures within UK Higher Education. In reviewing the performative element of Prevent, specifically how information is displayed, we find that the majority of UK Higher Education Institutions have approached their new roles through the prism of ‘compliance’ and/or ‘safeguarding’. The article argues presentations of safeguarding, reassurance and reluctance offer a telling insight into how the Duty has been adopted in Higher Education Institutions’ everyday practice.
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In this chapter we examine the issues related to two separable topics (terrorism and Islam), which we believe need to be addressed as part of the content in preservice and in-service social foundations of education courses. Certainly, educators and their occupational socialization have a strong, if not always acknowledged, political dimension,3 and thus such topics constitute a relevant focus. This is not only because of the enormity of the death and destruction that occurred within U.S. territory as a consequence of the hijacking and crashing of four commercial airliners on September 11, 2001 or because of the way many people have defined these events as a turning point in contemporary world history.4 These topics (and others, such as capitalism, Christianity, Judaism, revolution, and socialism) are salient in any attempt to understand the global social context of education.5
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'Imagined Communities' examines the creation & function of the 'imagined communities' of nationality & the way these communities were in part created by the growth of the nation-state, the interaction between capitalism & printing & the birth of vernacular languages in early modern Europe.
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The terrorist attacks in the USA and UK on 9/11 and 7/7, and subsequent media coverage, have resulted in a heightened awareness of extremists and terrorists. Should educators be exploring terrorism and extremism within their classrooms? If so, what should they be teaching, and how? Dianne Gereluk draws together the diverging opinions surrounding these debates, exploring and critiquing the justifications used for why these issues should be addressed in schools. She goes on to consider the ways in which educators should teach these topics, providing practical suggestions. Education, Extremism and Terrorism is essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate education students looking to engage with the philosophical, sociological and political issues that are central to this debate.
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We cannot truly understand - let alone counter - terrorism in the 21st century unless we also understand the processes of communication that underpin it. This book challenges what we know about terrorism, showing that current approaches are inadequate and outdated, and develops a new communication model to understand terrorism in the media age.
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In Overcoming Religious Illiteracy, Harvard professor and Phillips Academy teacher Diane L. Moore argues that though the United States is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, the vast majority of citizens are woefully ignorant about religion itself and the basic tenets of the world's major religious traditions. The consequences of this religious illiteracy are profound and include fueling the culture wars, curtailing historical understanding and promoting religious and racial bigotry. In this volume, Moore combines theory with practice to articulate how to incorporate the study of religion into the schools in ways that will invigorate classrooms and enhance democratic discourse in the public sphere.
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In this volume we have been asked to consider how educators and scholars ought to intellectually deconstruct or pragmatically respond to America’s “war on terrorism.” This challenge requires that we engage in ethical reflection, perhaps even that we become political philosophers. To this end, I consider the relevance of relational theorizing to understanding human vulnerability, security, and alliance across difference.2 I am motivated by perennial questions that have been raised with renewed urgency since September 11, 2001. What accounts for the ease with which we dehumanize each other? What allows us to see each other as human beings? Can universities nurture those abilities that critical theorists demand we nurture—“the ability to seriously interrogate the world, the capacity to imagine and re-envision a world free from the pain and disfigurement of domination and exploitation?”3
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The commonly accepted interpretation is that a religious motive—the desire to please God—is the principal reason why people volunteer for suicide missions. American political scientist Robert A. Pape rejects this view. For him the common thread linking suicide bombers is a political objective— driving out an occupier from one’s homeland, which they see as furthering the common good of their society. In arriving at this theory, Pape relied on the concept of “altruistic suicide,” developed by French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his pioneering work Suicide (1897). These ideas are discussed in Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (2005), from which the passage below is taken.