Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Can terrorists be reformed?

Over the last few months, the msm has had stories of ISIS recruits who discover that being a jihadist terrorist isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Yesterday, This Ain't Hell had one such story. Go read that.

Just about weekly, we see stories of the misguided runaways who want to go home to comfort of (infidel?) mum and dad.

As Cameron et al debate whether or not it is too dangerous to allow these wannabe terrorists back on home soil, academics, terrorism experts, and politicians are trying to understand what makes a terrorist.

An interesting article from Homeland Security News Wire:

What makes a terrorist stop being a terrorist?
By John Horgan1 December 2014

The journey into and out of terrorism is as personal as it is complex. De-radicalization programs still represent some of the most creative approaches to counter-terrorism. They can be powerful forces in thinning the ranks of lower-level members. But if we do not have a sincere discussion of why or how they work, their future will be in jeopardy. With rumors of hundreds of disillusioned ex-ISIS members exploring a potential return home, we are already way behind. We need clear thinking to underpin these programs and their evaluation. In the absence of transparency and clearer expectations, it will only take one-high profile failure (would any program survive if one of its graduates detonated a suicide bomb closer to home?) for the potential of these programs to be lost forever.

“Feet first.” That’s how one terrorist leader told recruits was the only way out. It makes sense. Allowing members to just walk away wouldn’t be good for the group’s image.

And yet — at the same time as Islamic State parades its European jihadists in shocking beheading videos and continues to recruit aggressively around the world — terrorists do disengage all the time. Some quietly disappear. Others go public, telling their stories on TV or in autobiographies. They embrace their new identity as an “ex-“ or “former” to warn others of the dangers of involvement.

We have also come to know formers through the rise of so-called de-radicalization programs. For the past decade, I’ve examined how and why terrorists walk away, and I’ve also closely examined programs aimed at helping ease that transition.

De-radicalization: how it worksOne of the newest efforts was launched earlier this year by social workers and psychologists in Denmark. Their objective? To successfully reintegrate Danish jihadists who left a few short years ago to take up arms against the Syrian regime. Now they want to come home.

The Danes join similar ongoing efforts around the world. It’s hard to say how many de-radicalization programs exist....

Go read the rest here.  Pay attention as the debate continues.

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