2015 was a turbulent year. Major catastrophes most of them man-made wreaked havoc across the globe. With territorial gains, Daesh emerged as a formidable challenge to all the world. It was borne out of an ideology that is repugnant to most people and yet has a an appeal to a certain segment of the society. Daesh, since its inception has been bolstered by a lone wolf attacks. The organization has cashed in on the publicity from these attacks not only boost its recruitment drive but also announce its reign of terror. From the shooting at Canadian parliament, the Tunisian beach massacre, to the carnage on the streets of Paris, all carried out by individuals who had pledged allegiance to Daesh. There is no hiding the fact that carrying out those attacks were young men. Young muslim men.
Although the terrorist attacks in the west gained much publicity but similar attacks also devastated countries in the east (Pakistan, Thailand, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc). Mosques were bombed and dozens of children were murdered inside a school.
From Aqsa Mehmood ( the Daesh recruiter from Glasgow), to Saad Aziz (Karachi bus Masacre fame), from Adem Karadagand (Bangkok bomber) to Seifiddine Rezgui Yacoub (orchestrator of Tunisian beach attack) all were young persons whose parents did not have a clue of their children’s bent of mind leave alone their plans. In fact in all the mentioned cases parents were shocked when they were informed about the relevant incident.
In light of this conveyer belt of troubling news, Muslims parents are getting increasingly concerned if their children are in the wrong company or wrong frame of mind. This is also true for many non-muslim parents whose off-spring may have converted to Islam.
On a similar footing, many parents already have concerns about their child’s thinking or behaviour but are clueless about the handling of the precarious scenario.
This guide has been written specifically for parents who are finding themselves in such situations. It will help them in understanding what radical religious ideology is. How is Islam twisted to have a radical outlook and more importantly how to deal with a child that is treading or is likely to tread the path of extremism. This guide aims to equip parents with tools that will not only un-simmer the vile ideology bubbling in their child’s head but will also show them areas where their energy can be channelled positively.
It is interesting to note that a great deal of literature is present on the importance of de-radicalization within Islamic community but very little if any is written on how to de-radicalize?
Dealing with a radical mind-set is challenging. To de-construct a radical ideology requires thorough understanding of its foundations. Therefore, this guide will have three further segments:
It is often the case that parents are ill equipped with religious knowledge that is needed to engage with someone of a radical mind-set. However, this should not be of great concern as anyone deemed radical has very little knowledge of theology themselves. Mostly their ideas are formulated on sound bytes and hearsay rather than academic research. The reader should take heart that for every extreme point of view that is quoted, there are several points that claim otherwise from the same religious sources.
It is important that parents read all the segments of this guide thoroughly. This guide will present a step by step solution to the readers for engaging and effectively de-radicalizing a person. Although this guide only deals with Muslim extremism but the principals can be applied to other types of extremist behaviours too.
The use of the term “Islamic radicalization” has been avoided because it is a misnomer. Islam by its definition means peace and champions the middle way. It is called the religion of collective consciousness (fitrah in Arabic). And therefore true understanding of Islam itself is enough to curb any notion of extremism.
It should also be understood what “Radicalization” herein implies. It does not mean a person becoming religious. It does mean a person trying to achieve political objectives by hook or crook. In many countries, counter terrorism frameworks, such as PREVENT in the UK, are failing and in some cases proving to be counter productive. Although, the UK government has fixed a budget of 40 million pounds annually but such strategies can end up in alienating the very youth they seek to bring into the mainstream.
For any strategy to succeed, it is important to listen and understand a person’s narrative and than communicate the counter narrative in a non-disparaging fashion. Parents, close relatives and friends are often best placed to offer advice than authorities that in the eyes of a subject are not trust worthy.
It was felt that the need to dispel and disseminate this information for a great number of parents far exceeded the need for perfection. Therefore the author would like to apologize in advance for any grammatical or typographical errors.
Part 2-1 of this guide can be accessed from this link