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(photo credit: Screenshot)
Military power and domestic security agencies alone are insufficient to tackle the threat of terrorism, several experts at the Tenth annual World Summit on Counter- Terrorism in Herzliya said on Tuesday, adding that efforts to de-radicalize Muslims with extremist attitudes was a necessary part of the effort.
Prof. Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland, a codirector of START, the National Institute for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism, said radicalization continued to be a growing problem around the world.
“In Turkey, there is a huge wave of radicalization. I was recently in
Egypt, where there is also a tremendous amount of radicalization.
Firebrand extremist clerics are gaining,” he said.
“In the US, the myth that American Muslims are not vulnerable [to
radicalization] because of the great integration of America seems to be
undermined. In 2009 alone, 10 plots were uncovered.”
Kruglanski said that radicalization was based on a grievance and the
identification of a culprit. The process then created a base of
supporters for terrorist leaders.
He said three main pillars were needed to de-radicalize extremists:
Rational cognitive argument, an emotional transformation, and employing
people who are respected and trusted by the radicalized population to
lead the effort to change their outlooks.
Singapore had employed clerics from Egypt’s leading al-Ahzar Islamic
University to create a point-by-point answer to radical Islamist
ideology, Kruglanski said, while on the emotional level, the families of
security detainees were cared for by the state.
In Egypt and Algeria, governments focused on de-radicalizing the
leadership of terrorist groups, hoping that terrorist foot soldiers
would follow their leaders. Saudi Arabia has invested huge sums to
rehabilitate terrorists, he added.
Dr. Ariel Merari, head of the Center for Political Violence at Tel Aviv
University, shared the results of a survey he conducted on 15
Palestinian security prisoners who had failed to carry out a suicide
bomb attack. Merari said his study showed a link between the willingness
of terrorists to change, with the public opinion of the societies from
which they come.
Only 20 percent of the terrorists said they would continue to try and
carry out attacks despite Palestinian public opposition to suicide
bombings, while the remainder said they would not carry out the attack
under such circumstances.
Twenty-seven percent of the failed bombers said they would continue to
try and carry out the attacks even if Palestinian clerics came out
against suicide bombings, while the remainder said they would cease
their efforts to murder Israelis.