Radicalisation – discussion

3rd August 2017


17 of us managed to cram into Alison house – many thanks Alison – for Claire to talk about Radicalisation.  Originally this was a good thing!  From the Latin for “root” it meant fundamental change by the Left to make society fairer, such as the radical reform to allow everyone to vote, (a Far Right reform proposal would be called “Reactionary”).   There is a different tone and meaning today – it implies violent extremism, and the grooming of an individual to want to take part in terrorist actions.  Claire went through different definitions.

Childline gives advice to young people who feel unhappy, treated badly because of race/gender, confused ,angry, oppressed, pressured, that joining a hate group like Daesh or a Nazi group will not help them.  The Economist talks of thousands of boys being recruited as “cubs of the caliphate” in Syria and Iraq. There will be more danger here in Britain now that Isis is losing the fight in Syria; these young children have been taught to hate the west and how to hurt and kill.   Terrorists are not born, they are pulled by Radical propaganda and/or pushed by factors like racism/ anti-muslim westerners. Lone refugees with disturbed lives and unrecognised mental health issues are very vulnerable –  a project “Prevent in Place” is working on how to help such people, and having some success – according to one member’s daughter, who is involved professionally in this.
Two members have had our government’s Prevent training (for nurses, social workers, teachers,etc – it is statutory to report); neither of them was impressed.  This training emphasises that it is not only about Muslim fundamentalism, but that of the National Front and English Defence League as well. (The Manchester bomber was referred 5 times!)   It is difficult to change people’s views or mindsets;  in fact it often makes their position more entrenched;  success takes a lot of time and personal contact.   Claire explained how the grooming process works: reducing contact with non-radicalised people, mutual aid, making it difficult to get in, having to observe rules /show commitment etc, until they don’t fit in anywhere else, are not engaged in school, justify criminal actions and are rewarded by the group who are now their family (and by the exhilaration of a Power Trip).  People are easily radicalised in prison. Terrorists want to provoke punishment of all muslims to create more grievances. 
Here many Muslims are, of course, integrated into British society. Claire had a nice example of a modern mosque in Germany, with a female Imam, which welcomes all genders and encourages freedom of expression. However we learned about Wahabism (the ideology of Saudi Arabia) which is said to be gaining popularity here – they hate gays, music and are very intolerant to Shiias, Yazadis, women and unbelievers (said to be sub-human).  Our Government will do nothing to upset the Saudis, who buy our armaments and are bombing Yeman.  There is a problem with cyber-jihadists whose recruitment propaganda is spewing across the internet.  Providers are reluctant to be censors.  This was a very full evening and prompted much discussion.  Thanks very much to Claire.
Report by Kathy Ward [LO]