Fighting extremism by supporting young people and empowering families

Friday 23 October 2020

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Radical or radicalised, that is the question!

There is an increasing confusion between the two terms but what is certain is that if extremists have radical objectives, not all radicals should be considered as extremists. Far from being a merely matter of semantic, people can in principle criticise the status quo by pacifically or vehemently expressing their ideas, even if radical, without taking concrete actions and then, achieving their goals through violence.

By contrast, when these ideas turn into violent actions and individuals pursue the annihilation of some groups solely on the basis of ethnicity, sexual or political orientation, we better call the police.

Hence, NGOs and local associations should focus their attention on reducing poisonous extremist ideology’s appeal for young people and building resilience to radicalisation through family empowerment.

CEAR project aims at tackling extremism and radicalisation in our societies by promoting the engagement of local communities and to do so, its partners have created two practical Toolkits, one for youth organisation and the other for families of radicalised people. Oftentimes, grass-roots organisation as well as families are powerless and unprepared to prevent or even understand the risk factors that lead to extremism and radicalisation. In this regard, both Toolkits are meant to support and equip these groups or communities with tools and skills to better deal with radical ideas among young people and families.

Following the successful creation of the Toolkits, project partners participated in a 4-day workshop from the 21st to the 24th of September with the aim of training all the members of the Consortium that will implement the strategies and guidelines outlined in the aforementioned handbook. Among the main issues addressed during the training sessions, the fist two days of the workshop were centred on youth and the development of radicalised cognition. Special attention was also given to the potency of young people and their role as actors of change. The last training days aimed at analysing the relevant steps needed for engaging with families and support their efforts against radicalisation.

From the training sessions clearly emerged the urgent need for addressing structural problems and hardships that often pave the way to violent downturn. While forming their identity, youth are malleable and easily influenced by extreme ideologies or authoritarian actors promoting radical ideas. In addition to this, families are often unable to perceive their sons’ attitude change and prevent them from being radicalised.

In this time of crisis, while certainties are fading away and a feeling of anomie is pervading our own societies, political extremism and integralism have found fertile grounds luring young and vulnerable people into their web. Due to this, nowadays it is more important than even to actually engage local communities in preventing this (new) wave of violent radicalism, both political and religious, affecting young people and inflicting severe consequences to families all around Europe.


About the project

CEAR – Community Engagement Against Radicalisation is funded by Internal Security Fund – Police 2018.


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