homework question 26

Discussion Questions: What are the primary behavioral and psychological factors associated with why someone would disengage from terrorism? Also, summarize the effectiveness of de-radicalization programs covered by the required readings by either Zahid or Pettinger.

Articles for weekly assignment:

Terrorism, radicalization and de-radicalization: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/…

ANALYZING THE COUNTER RADICALIZATION AND DE-RADICALIZATION MODELS: https://www.cf2r.org/foreign/analyzing-the-counter…

De-radicalization and Counter-radicalization: Valuable Tools Combating Violent Extremism, or Harmful Methods: http://journals.sfu.ca/jd/index.php/jd/article/vie…

Instructions: Fully utilize the materials that have been provided to you in order to support your response. Your initial post should be at least 350 words. Please respond to at least two other students. Responses should be a minimum of 150 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

Student# 1 Jacop

What are the primary behavioral and psychological factors associated with why someone would disengage from terrorism? Also, summarize the effectiveness of de-radicalization programs covered by the required readings by either Zahid or Pettinger.

The study of disengagement, de-radicalization, and counter-radicalization have gained significant traction over the years as multiple nations have attributed vast resources to researching this phenomenon and implementing programs aimed at bolstering national security by directly curtailing extremism and terrorism. These varying levels of de-escalation are not created equal as the favored method of combating extremism and terrorism includes counter-radicalization with de-radicalization as the second preferred approach and disengagement as the least ideal method. The differences between these programs is that of being proactive verse reactive. Counter-radicalization programs take a proactive approach awhile de-radicalization and disengagement programs are reactive in nature as an extremism process has already begun or worse, an act of terrorism has already been committed.

As previously mentioned, disengagement is the least valued method of reducing future incidents of extremism potentially resulting in violence. This is due to the fact that disengagement results in very little, if any, behavioral and psychological changes. An individual may disengage from extremist and terrorist groups for many reasons including expulsion from the group, the dismantling of the group, imprisonment, etc. However, the initial ideology that lead to radicalization in the first place is still intact. This is problematic as radical ideologies are a crucial component to one’s radicalization. Pettinger explains, “Targeting the radical ‘ideology’ held by individuals is the focus of programs combating radicalization; ideology has been portrayed in discourse as a key motivating factor” (Pettinger, 2017, pg. 4). Disengagement fails to facilitate a complete cognitive shift and a relapse down the path of extremism is extremely likely. De-radicalization on the other hand aims at enabling this complete shift in behavioral and psychological factors to prevent future acts of violence from transpiring. “If a subject was ideologically reformed through de-radicalization to a point where they “abandon their radical worldview that justifies the use of violence”, then the likelihood of them turning to violence if the same conditions were present is far smaller” (Pettinger, 2017, pg. 5).

De-radicalization also comes with its share of problems as getting radicalized individuals to renounce their ideologies has proven to be easier said than done. Ascertaining whether de-radicalization programs work has yielded nonconclusive results as many countries have purposefully skewed statistics pertaining to relapses in extremism. Furthermore, many nations exhibit strict rules and oversight over these individuals determined to be graduates of their de-radicalization programs which prevents freedom of choice. Furthermore, many of these de-radicalization programs are administered in prison systems which further distorts results. Schmid elaborates, “One of the reasons for the difficulty of assessing the success of de-radicalization efforts is dissimulation. To get out of prison, many terrorists learn ‘to talk the talk’” (Schmid, 2013, pg. 43).

In conclusion, counter-radicalization is the best approach to combating terrorism in the first place as it prevents extremism from occurring. “If utilized carefully, counter radicalization is much more useful than de-radicalization” (Zahid, 2016, para. 8). With that said, de-radicalization is also a viable approach as long as the individual is willing to make that full cognitive shift and willing to denounce the use of violence. Successful cases of de-radicalization have occurred as is the case Mubin Shaikh in Canada. Interestingly enough, his de-radicalization was achieved through personal relationships, religious leaders, and a strong internal conflict that ultimately led him to denounce the use of Islam against the west.

I went through my de-radicalization phase. It was a full cognitive shift. This wasn’t just mere disengagement from violence. … it was a full cognitive shift, and it was from spending time with a religious scholar who helped me debunk the extremist interpretations of the Quran. This entailed a verse-by-verse reading of the Quran, the exegesis, the context—all of these things. And it was that, plus disillusionment with Syria itself as a police state discriminating against Indians like myself. So those things together made me totally give up those extremist interpretations. (Cirincione, 2015, para. 12).



Cirincione, M. (2015). Mubin Shaikh: From Islamic Extremist to Government Informant. U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved fromhttps://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/01/15/mubin-shaikh-from-islamic-extremist-to-government-informant.

Pettinger, T. (2017). De-radicalization and Counter-radicalization: Valuable Tools Combating Violent Extremism, or Harmful Methods of Subjugation? Retrieved from http://apus.intelluslearning.com.

Schmid, A. P. (2013). Radicalisation, De-Radicalisation, Counter-Radicalisation: A Conceptual Discussion and Literature Review. Research Paper forInternational Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague. Retrieved from http://www.icct.nl/download/file/ICCT-Schmid-Radicalisation-De-Radicalisation-Counter-Radicalisation-March-2013.pdf.

Zahid, F. (2016). Analyzing the counter radicalization and de-radicalization models. Retrieved from https://apus.intelluslearning.com.

Student# 2 Christopher

What are the primary behavioral and psychological factors associated with why someone would disengage from terrorism? Also, summarize the effectiveness of de-radicalization programs covered by the required readings by either Zahid or Pettinger.

Our lesson approaches de-radicalization to affect individuals, and counter radicalization programs to affect large groups of people. These programs that are either acclaimed and also met with suspicion, seem to be highly questionable as to their efficacy. Most of them seem to employ a reintegration process of captive terrorists with financial help or job placement. Two of them that I read about actually try for reeducation of radicalized individuals. This seems to be on the right track if not tedious and time consuming, all without knowing for sure if it works. If this process were coupled with counter radicalization programs, it may achieve better success. It is my understanding that a radicalized person cannot truly be de-radicalized physically. Real de-radicalization must occur in the mind. Some would argue that bullets effectively de-radicalize terrorists, but that isn’t really true. It just creates more martyrs. But, America has tried some counter radicalization methods for extremists in California. “The primary focus of these initiatives was to develop a rapport with the communities by developing partnership networks which may allow division of labor between communities and law enforcement” (Zahid, 2016). This could work in the Middle East too if we do it the right way. France has had less success, mostly because they continue to be a part of military campaigns in Libya and Mali.

When we started on this journey through the mind of a terrorist, a lot of us talked about fighting them. I know I did. Maybe the path to a terrorist free world exists only through the mind and not the body. What I mean is, the method that we as a country have use is military might and strategy. We’ve seen what fighting them does. It radicalizes more through the violence we inflict upon their family members and their homes. We’ve seen what ignoring them does. It creates a power vacuum that is filled yet another leader or group like ISIS was formed when we pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan. The next step may be to fight them with ideas to de-radicalize them over time. We do not provide them with targets and we protect ourselves and our allies. We can help them invest in their own communities instead of investing in terrorist groups. We help them build a stable and responsible government that they want, not one that we want for them. Remember, westernization is one of their key motivators for radicalization. We help them rebuild their communities with the promise of our eventual absence. All of these are things that we’ve done before, but with a strong military presence and the constant threat of retaliatory violence. We can achieve these goals by funding regional firms that hire locals to do the work so that there’s no westerners to fight. Sure, it’s western money, but that’s better than spending American lives. As a Marine Corps veteran, it’s hard to stomach the concept of a nonviolent solution to mass murder, but our continued fight against them only radicalizes more in the name of their god and their martyrs. In short, this is just conjecture and I have no idea if these ideas might work or not, but ideas may work better against other ideas than bullets.

– Chris


Zahid, F. (2016, December). ANALYZING THE COUNTER RADICALIZATION AND DE-RADICALIZATION MODELS. FOREIGN ANALYSIS N°43. Retrieved from https://apus.intelluslearning.com/lti/#/document/156376809/1/a55db6741880be62a0580b023b9299f6/3baa255fa2d5a107b6df23f87b76f538/browse_published_content/11523/51691/92053/2/lesson/lesson?hideClose=false&tagId=58884&external_course_id=377211&external_course_name=HLSS154%20B003%20Fall%2018

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