Counter-Radicalization Through Music

Love for the greater good, be it family values or maintaining peace in local communities, may be a way to get those vulnerable to extremism to take a different view. This can be achieved through music. Romantic songs, emphasizing the positive in life, are not the only kinds of music to bring this about.

A problem with some existing urban or street-wise music such as Rap is that it could be eyed with suspicion for its tradition of boasting. This does not mean that Hip-Hop, or newer genres, should necessarily be excluded when thinking of how to create a peaceful state of mind through music. It all depends on where to draw the line and where to set accents.

What should be avoided is, of course, the regular show of strength, vocal depiction of crime as is known from gangster music. It would also be counter-productive to support music which, in its lyrics, leans on Black Power v. White Supremacy or vice versa. There is ‘real’ contemporary music from West Africa, very credible, which mentions religious principles of peace. A similar example is some of the North African Raï music.

Coming together in peace through music should be promoted. Especially when this has a chance of resonating positively in communities susceptible to extremism.

Thorsten Koch, MA, PgDip
24 July 2020

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