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Deradicalisation Possible?

Muslims in a Secular Society

Is the Deradicalisation of Islamist Extremists Possible?


"The aim of this research is to discover whether the deradicalisation of violent Islamist extremists is possible in a secular society such as Britain. The intention is to recognise that the traditional legal and military counter terrorism frameworks are insufficient to minimise the terrorism threat and thus a different tactic is necessary. Further, it is asserted that radical ideology should be the main focus of a multi dimensional counter terrorism campaign.

The dissertation will begin with a brief introduction to the problems of implementing purely legal and military forms of counter terrorism, the threat of extremism Islamism and how it may lead to terrorism and how this may be countered. It will then move on to explore rehabilitative deradicalisation programmes forming counter ideological counter terrorism policies. The thesis will then move on to discuss two case studies in which deradicalisation programmes have been implemented in different circumstances, how successful elements of each programme may be transferred to a secular society and finally whether deradicalisation programmes may work in a secular society.

Conclusions drawn include the assertion that deradicalisation may be possible in a secular society if a number of elements from the more developed programmes in the Muslim Middle East. These include:

a) Debate/ Dialogue approaches to contesting ideology,

b) Programmes being led by religious clerics, Islamic scholars or former Islamists

c) Holistic reintegration schemes

Further conclusions include the contention that a deradicalisation programme must be flexible in order that it could be moulded to regional or contextual needs as well as the suggestion that a multi pronged approach to counter terrorism may be a successful long term strategy. This will be the case only if this includes both preventative and rehabilitative counter ideological methods that may rehabilitate extremist Islamists and terrorists and persuade terrorists to abandon not only violence but also radical ideologies.

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Individual views espoused in this article/paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the Portmir Foundation and have been included to represent the variety of different opinions that may exist on a single issue. In accordance with our democratic charter, the Portmir Foundation values debate in a spirit of mutual tolerance and understanding, even when such views contradict those of the Foundation. 
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