Countering Radicalization Softly

Measures and tools of counter radicalization are more reliable now than they were a few years back, thanks to RAN and other organizations. However, the application depends on the individuals and groups in question and on the context. Concerning applicability, not everything that works fine for the majority of potentially radicalized, or in most cases, will work for everybody, or in any circumstance. We need a holistic but tailored approach.

If we treat people according to the same, unitary scheme, we risk making mistakes, even if the scheme is slightly amended over the years. It is not only about technicalities, it is also about the people applying measures and their preferences.

We need better training and better staffing. Notably, we need to assign the right people. This does not mean escalating things by the numbers and in severity, it means being smarter. Cost is a factor. But if we discard non-mainstream measures without testing them longer-term, especially with an emphasis on soft measures (where appropriate), we risk doing a job that is far from perfect. Notwithstanding arrests, deportations and other results deemed to be successes. We need incentives, perspectives of inclusion for those who will stay, and of course clear limitations.

Thorsten Koch, MA, PgDip
July 2019

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