How to Prevent: Extremism and Policy Options

Foundation Update

How to Prevent: Extremism and Policy Options

27 Jan 2016

The world faces a battle of ideas. Powerful, extreme ideologies abusively use religious justifications to speak to a range of grievances and inspire horrific acts of violence. We have to engage in this battle if we are to prevent these actions. This volume, How to Prevent: Extremism and Policy Options, presents options for policy makers to consider in constructing a full spectrum response to preventing extremism.

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The vast majority of religious believers reject and condemn the extreme ideologies and their religious justifications. But vulnerable people, unsure of their identity and belonging, find purpose in responding to calls to react against established society, often with their own deaths. If we are to protect the vulnerable and end the cycle of violence, we must both challenge the ideas themselves and develop resilience within those targeted for radicalisation.

The prevention of extremism is not something we will achieve overnight, in a year or within an election cycle. We have to build a strategy that reaches across generations. Security is the first duty of all governments, but hard power alone has never and will never be the whole answer.

There are three important things that this volume highlights for prevention. First, we cannot avoid the fact that this is about ideas based on a perversion of religion. In this battle of ideas, the only lasting solution will be one that fully understands, addresses and uproots the ideas themselves. Secondly, in understanding that this is a generational challenge, we need to implement reform now in order that the next generation has the understanding and skills necessary for building resilience to extremist ideas. Finally, we cannot underestimate the need to fight this problem together.

The difficult but necessary decisions that this volume highlights and the policy options it presents are not unrealistic, and take into consideration the full spectrum of challenges. We must recognise what works, and where there is positive impact we must seek to replicate it.

Strategic action is needed quickly to implement solutions that are long-term and have continuity and consensus. Governments will need to work hard to build coalitions for this work, not just within society, but also across government. The prevention of extremism is one of the greatest challenges facing this generation and the next. Unless we counter it, and urgently counter it together, we face a very difficult future as a global community.

Contributions

Strategic Prevention is Vital to Tackle Extremism, ANGELA SALT

How to Prevent Extremism, HAZEL BLEARS

Religion as a Partner on the International Stage, FRANCIS CAMPBELL

The Importance of Theological Clarity and Rebuttal in Preventing Extremism, USAMA HASAN

Case Study: Nigeria Hope, Challenges and Opportunity: Nigeria's Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism, FATIMA AKILU

To Prevent, Understand Religious Ideology, PETER WELBY

Extremism and Complexity of Thinking: The Psychological Reason for Investing in Education, SARA SAVAGE

Case Study: Pakistan Improve Critical Education, Improve Prevention: Lessons from Deradicalising Young Taliban Fighters, FERIHA PERACHA, RAAFIA RAEES KHAN, ASMA AYUB AND KANZA AIJAZ

Educating To Protect Young People Against Extremism, JO MALONE

Building Community Resilience to Prevent Extremism in Conflict- Affected Environments, ALPASLAN ÖZERDEM

Social Engagement: An Effective Way to Tackle Radicalisation, BRIAN GRIM

Case Study: Singapore Prevention Requires Participation: The Need For State-Society Partnerships, ROHAN GUNARATNA

Mobilising Religious Leaders to Effectively Prevent Extremism, BANKE ADETAYO

Preventing Violent Extremism: From Dialogue to Delivery, KHALID KOSER & AMY E. CUNNINGHAM