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A comparative analysis between deradicalization programs in Arab states and Western states in terms of their underlying assumptions and scholarship
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 10:02 authored by Emad Al-Hammadin
The war on terror has created more harm than good, largely confronting terrorism with a kinetic approach that has yielded undesirable outcomes. Increased numbers of foreign fighter returnees and home-grown terrorists have forced many countries to develop soft approach deradicalization programs, part of wider Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) initiatives, in response. These programs have been created to manage and deradicalize apprehended violent extremists, often within the correctional setting. Although many countries face the challenges of differing forms of radicalization, different states have approached the construction of these programs differently. In the Arab world the focus is on correcting deviant religious ideology through re-education and the support of normative Islam. In Western countries, on the other hand, there has been more focus on the adoption of social and psychological programs and processes to counter radicalized violent extremists. The aim of this study is to map, for the first time, the differences between Arab and Western deradicalization programs in terms of the fundamental assumptions upon which they are based. It will then explore how these assumptions have affected the structure and success of the programs. The research method adopted is an inductive theoretical approach using core qualitative components consisting of: 1) a literature review; 2) case studies; and 3) a comparative analysis. This research confirms that Arab programs do indeed focus on religious issues, while Western countries generally do not, although there is significant overlap in how the programs function. It is recommended that a mixture of religious and social approaches, with a focus on ideology, is crucial to success in the future.