'De-radicalization essential counter-terrorism component'

Experts say military power and domestic security agencies alone are insufficient to tackle threat of terrorism.

shooting car 311 (photo credit: Screenshot)
shooting car 311
(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.