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There are several methods that are usually used in an attempt to counter terrorism. Apart from the typical upgrade of security systems and the actual combatting of terrorism, there are some other methods that do not involve much effort as is required during combat. Some of these methods include de-radicalization and disengagement (behavior change) (Cardigan, 2015). The latter and the former methods are alternative and are in fact proving to be effective in tackling terrorism. De-radicalization deals with the change of the ideologies of the group or individual while disengagement deals with the change in the behavior of the group or individual (Cardigan, 2015). For this reason, this essay shall lay emphasis on the advantage and disadvantage of de-radicalization as a tool for counterterrorism.
As was stated earlier, de-radicalization deals with the change of beliefs. It is an effective way of influencing the ideologies of terrorists and terrorists’ movements (White, 2014. Pg 243-245). De-radicalization programs can be directed towards an entire organization. This is whereby a certain group of people, such as terrorists in custody, is de-radicalized through religious dialog, vocational training and education. De-radicalization can also be directed towards individuals. This is whereby individuals are informed through religious studies and some other forms of awareness campaigns in order to change their ideologies. For this reason, the individual de-radicalization has been and is being practiced in several countries such as Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
The individual de-radicalization programs are especially common for the terrorist detainees and convicts. Through the education and the religious dialogs that are present in the de-radicalization program, the individuals are able to change their ideologies that have been ingrained in them for years. Family members also play a crucial role in the de-radicalization program. This is majorly reliant on the particular norms of the detainees and the convicts (Dejesus, 2015. Pg 139).
The significant advantage that can be achieved through de-radicalization is the decline in the rate of terror activities being conducted. Since most of the terror organizations are based or founded on main ideologies, which constitute the driving force of the group, the change of these ideologies can have a positive effect on the rate of terror attacks being conducted. Consequently, once the de-radicalization program is over, the graduates are expected to quit their participation and association with the terror groups. De-radicalization should therefore be considered as a crucial tool for counterterrorism, since its secondary benefits are reaped even beyond the walls of the detention facilities. The de-radicalization program should also target people who are vulnerable for radicalization; majorly the youth. This will prevent further terror activities from taking place and will also help manage the present situation better.
The major drawback of the de-radicalization program is the measurement of its success rate. The effectiveness of the program is measured by the amount of graduates that have returned to the terrorism activities. However, the recidivism rates are often misleading. The main reason they are inaccurate is because they only show what is known to the intelligence service, which is to some extent limited. A good example is a de-radicalization program that was considered successful until recently when the terror activities of eleven graduates were noted.
Conclusively, de-radicalization can be used effectively as a tool for counterterrorism. Although it is difficult to measure the success rate, it is currently a work in progress in several countries that are facing terror activities and the results that are being portrayed are positive. Therefore, it would be prudent for governments to use such alternative methods to help curb terrorism.
Cardigan, Robert. (2015). “Lecture 5”: Disengagement and De-radicalization: a distinctive perspective on terrorism.
Dejesus, K (2015). Isis [S.I]: Praeger Publishers.
White, Jonathan. (2014). Terrorism and Homeland Security (8th ed.). Belmont, CA; Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
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