Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

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European Forum for Urban Security

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level In order to combat radicalisation, repressive responses alone are not sufficient. Preventive measures must also be implemented to tackle its underlying causes. These actions must mobilise local crime prevention partnership schemes to strengthen the resilience of both individuals and groups to the risks of radicalisation. The aim of this publication is to give an overview of the topic, as well as to provide practical insights and tools for strengthening local stakeholders’ capacities to deal with this phenomenon, both at the political and technical level.

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Published by the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), this document is the result of the Local Institutions AgaInSt Extremism (LIAISE) project, carried out between 2014 and 2016. It was written by Sebastian Sperber, Juan Cristellys and Véronique Ketelaer, Programme Managers, under the direction of Elizabeth Johnston, Executive Director, and with the contribution of Götz Nordbruch from and Charlotte Kathe, Tanya Silverman and Rashad Ali from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, partner institutions, and the project’s partner cities. The use and reproduction are royalty free and for non-commercial ends, on condition that the source be specified. Revision: David Wile Layout: Marie Aumont, Printing: Cloître Imprimeurs, Saint-Thonan - France ISBN: 2-913181-48-1 Legal deposit: September 2016 European Forum for Urban Security 10, rue des Montiboeufs 75020 Paris - France Tel: + 33 (0)1 40 64 49 00 -

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

European Forum for Urban Security

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level



The “Local Institutions AgaInSt Extremism” (LIAISE) project was carried out thanks to the commitment of representatives of the partner cities - Augsburg (Germany), Brussels (Belgium), Düsseldorf (Germany), l’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Spain), Liège (Belgium), Malmö (Sweden), Reggio Emilia (Italy) and Vilvoorde (Belgium) - the German association for civic education and preventive work, and the UK think tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which both contributed with their expertise to the different training sessions of the project and the drafting of this guide. We thank the elected representatives and their teams for sharing their experience and knowledge, as well the experts for their precious work and insights. In addition to the European Commission and its financial support, without which this project and publication would not have been possible, we would also like to thank all the people who welcomed us during our training sessions and those who contributed to them.

Project partners Diana Schubert (Augsburg, Germany), Hadelin Feront (Brussels, Belgium), Tanja Schwarzer and Stephan Glaremin (Düsseldorf, Germany), José Antonio García-Calvillo Moreno, Laia González Pradanos and Oscar Negredo Carrillo (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain), Manuel Comeron and Catherine Schiltz (Liège, Belgium), Malin Martelius, Anna Kosztovics and Arash Zinat Bakhsh (Malmö, Sweden), Papa Seck (Reggio Emilia, Italy) and Jessika Soors (Vilvoorde, Belgium).


Project partner institutions Götz Nordbruch (, Germany), Institute for Strategic Dialogue (United Kingdom).

Associate partners Laetitia Nolet (Belgian Forum for Prevention and Urban Security, Belgium), Harald Weilnböck and Anika Posselius (Cultures Interactive, Germany).

Other contributors Sophie Le Bihan (Montreuil, France), Farid Bounouar (Sarcelles, France), Christiane Nischler (State of Bavaria, Germany), Hans Bonte (Vilvoorde, Belgium), Andreas Schönström, Per-Erik Ebbeståhl, Sarah Hansson, Julia Kjellbom, Aviva Suskin Holmqvist, Dirk Wurm, Peter Bommas (Augsburg, Germany), Chris Williams (Brent, United Kingdom), Arris Blom (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Marik Fetouh (Bordeaux, France), Henning Mols (Aarhus, Denmark), Sindyan Qasem (, Germany), Sasha Havlicek, Erin Saltman, Henry Tuck, James Kearney, Munir Zamir, Zahed Amanullah, Rebecca Skellett, Sarah Kennedy (Institute for Strategic Dialogue, United Kingdom), Ross Frenett, Vidhya Ramalingam (Moonshot CVE, United Kingdom), Anissa Akhandaf (Antwerp, Belgium), Georgina Nitzsche, Edit Schlaffer (Women Without Borders, Austria), Saliha Ben Ali (Society Against Violent Extremism, Belgium), Willy Demeyer (Liège, Belgium), Alain Grignard, Hassan Bousseta (University of Liège, Belgium), Juan Cortes Leclou (General Direction for Security and Prevention, Belgium), Erwin Van Vlierberghe (Belgian Coordination Agency for Threat Analysis, Belgium), Craig McCann (National Counter-Terrorism Policing Headquarters, United Kingdom), Victor Steenssens (Arktos asbl, Belgium), Robert Örell (Fryshuset/Exit Sweden, Sweden), Julia Reinelt (Violence Prevention Network, Germany), Lily Maxwell, Tomás Santamaría Agudo (Center Against Terrorism and Organised Crime, Ministry of the Interior, Spain).


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Table of contents


Foreword.........................................................................p. 8 Introduction.................................................................p. 10 Chapter I - Understanding Radicalisation and Raising Awareness...............................................p. 13 I. Defining concepts...................................................................... p. 15 II. Mechanisms and levels of explanation: understanding the process.................................................................................... p. 17 III. Preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism........... p. 21 IV. Practices and tools................................................................... p. 24

Chapter II - Developing a Local Multi-agency Strategy.........................................................................p. 27 I. Think global, act local: glocalisation and the development of a local strategy.......................................................................... p. 29 II. Types of actions implemented at the local level........................ p. 33 III. Recommendations.................................................................. p. 34 IV. Practices and tools................................................................... p. 35

Chapter III – Supporting and Empowering Families.... p. 39 I. Different stages and forms of family support and empowerment........................................................................ p. 41 II. How to reach and liaise with families....................................... p. 45 III. Recommendations.................................................................. p. 46 IV. Practices and tools................................................................... p. 48


Chapter IV - Prevention and Resilience-building....p. 51 I. Schools and formal education.................................................... p. 54 II. Youth welfare and social services............................................. p. 56 III. Communities........................................................................... p. 57 IV. Police....................................................................................... p. 59 V. Recommendations.................................................................... p. 60 VI. Practices and tools.................................................................. p. 61

Chapter V - De-radicalisation and Disengagement....p. 65 I. The referral process................................................................... p. 67 II. Structure of the intervention..................................................... p. 70 III. Winning confidence................................................................ p. 71 IV. The case of religious extremism: the role of religion................ p. 71 V. Disengagement......................................................................... p. 72 VI. Recommendations.................................................................. p. 73 VII. Practices and tools................................................................. p. 74

Chapter VI - Counter-narratives....................................p. 77 I. Planning and creating a campaign............................................. p. 79 II. Running a campaign................................................................. p. 81 III. Dissemination and evaluation................................................. p. 82 IV. Recommendations................................................................... p. 86 V. Practices and tools.................................................................... p. 87

References and bibliography.....................................p. 90


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level



Radicalisation leading to violent extremism is an increasingly pervasive societal issue. European cities have witnessed this first hand over the last years through tragic and fatal events. Indeed, recent terrorist attacks, not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world, highlight the urgent need to act against a phenomenon whose underlying causes must ultimately be tackled through a preventive approach. Aimed at core values of democratic societies, violent extremist acts, far from making us bow to terror, strengthen the European Forum for Urban Security’s deepest convictions, held for close to 30 years: namely, that security must be considered as a common good shared by all, and that preventing exclusion and fighting against discrimination contribute to strengthening social links and building individual and collective resilience. As such, the need for cities to work collectively, networking and building solidarity, is more critical than ever. In this context, local bodies cannot act alone to tackle the fundamental causes of radicalisation, particularly since the latter can lead some political forces to feed dangerous amalgams and consequently stigmatise certain populations. For this reason, and as a response to requests made by several member cities, Efus has sought to help local authorities build their capacity to prevent radicalisation, while reaffirming the central strategic role of local bodies in the fight against this phenomenon. With this objective, Efus has progressively been involved in a range of networks and activities at the European and international levels. Within these, Efus works to voice the needs of local authorities and stress the importance of ensuring respect for fundamental human rights when acting to prevent radicalisation.


A key initiative in this respect has been the Local Institutions AgaInSt Extremism (LIAISE) project, launched by Efus in September 2014 with the financial support of the European Commission. After two years of work by ten partner cities from six European countries, with continuous support from Efus and partner experts, the knowledge produced throughout this project has been compiled into this publication. Its main objective is to help cities operationalise current and available expertise in the field of radicalisation in terms of research and policymaking. It does not claim to provide an exhaustive response to this incredibly complex issue, but rather offers a collection of knowledge, practices and tools aimed at helping cities to find answers to their questions, and eventually address this issue according to their local contexts.

Elizabeth Johnston Executive Director


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> In the last two decades, radicalisation has become an increasingly central issue in the fields of research and policy-making. Policy agendas across Europe have included initiatives to tackle this issue, most often during periods of intense political and legislative activity, usually triggered by the occurrence of significant emotionally charged events such as terrorist attacks. This initial period of policy crafting and implementation, often in the wake of an attack, has been characterised by the introduction of “hard” or “repressive” counter-radicalisation measures, whether legal or administrative in nature (arrest, proscription of organisation, freezing of assets, etc.) However, prevention has emerged as an essential component as repressive responses alone are not sufficient to tackle radicalisation effectively. In addition to policing and judicial measures that deal with the consequences of radicalisation, preventive actions must be implemented in order to tackle its underlying causes, which lead individuals and groups towards violent extremism. In this sense, understanding radicalisation as a process is key in terms of identifying opportunities for prevention and intervention actions, which ultimately calls for the involvement of local authorities. In fact, despite the uncertainty about the exact causes of radicalisation, this process and its explanatory factors have local components and manifest themselves locally, sometimes through violent acts. Even though the Internet and social media have provided a very effective platform for disseminating extremist ideologies, online virtual contact usually leads to physical offline contact with extremist individuals or groups, which takes place at specific local sites. This, in addition to local authorities’1 accurate knowledge of the local context and their 1-The term local authority is used in this paper as the generic term for all types of institutions of local government that can be found in European countries, such as cities, towns, municipalities, etc. According to the Council of Europe’s European Charter of Local Self-Government (1985), local authorities (are) endowed with democratically constituted decision-making bodies and possessing a wide degree of autonomy with regard to their responsibilities, the ways and means by which those responsibilities are exercised and the resources required for their fulfilment.


unique proximity to citizens, suggests that local level bodies are strategically placed to coordinate or directly lead the implementation of preventive actions and to mobilise all the relevant local stakeholders who can contribute to preventing radicalisation. Local authorities, while far from being solely responsible or able to determine the reality of local situations alone, do have a significant capacity to act against this phenomenon. What are the areas of intervention within which they should act in order to prevent radicalisation at the local level? How do they implement actions in practice? The following document aims to address these questions by giving an overview of the topic as well as providing practical insights and tools for training local stakeholders on how to deal with this phenomenon, both at the technical and political level. All of the elements presented in this publication are the result of work carried out between 2014 and 2016 in the framework of the European LIAISE (Local Authorities AgaInSt Extremism) project led by Efus. This project gathered ten cities from six different countries – Augsburg (Germany), Brussels (Belgium), Düsseldorf (Germany), L’Hospitalet (Spain), Liège (Belgium), Malmö (Sweden), Montreuil (France), Reggio Emilia (Italy), Sarcelles (France), Vilvoorde (Belgium) – as well as the UK-based think tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which is specialised in the phenomenon of extremism, and the German association for intercultural exchange, The Belgian Forum for Prevention and Urban Security and the German association Cultures Interactive were also associated partners. The objective of this project was to create a training programme tailored to the needs of local stakeholders; the content and knowledge produced during the different training sessions have been gathered together in this publication. The document is structured according to the different topics that were tackled throughout the project and jointly identified by all the partner cities as thematic areas of special relevance for local stakeholders. These topics, which correspond to the different chapters of this publication, are presented below:

 Understanding radicalisation and raising awareness 11

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

 Developing a local multi-agency strategy  Supporting and empowering families  Prevention and resilience-building  De-radicalisation and disengagement  Counter-narratives These thematic chapters follow a similar structure:

 Analysis: this section develops the chapter’s topic of concern and presents different ways of tackling radicalisation and violent extremism at the local level. This analytical section ends with a set of practical recommendations.

 Practices and tools: this section provides two types of practical insights: 1) case studies to illustrate local practices according to the topic of concern, and 2) various tools for implementing the methods presented in the chapter. Both aspects are summarised and briefly presented in this section, and are available in more detail online.


In addition, six thematic videos are available online to introduce the topics and ideas of each chapter. These audio-visual support tools can be used, for instance, to introduce the topic during a training session. (Please visit to watch them). Special attention should be paid to the analytical scope of the following document. Based on the diversity of local contexts that were addressed throughout the project, the term “radicalisation leading to violent extremism” that is used in this publication includes all forms of radicalisation. This approach was considered indispensable because different forms of radicalisation can mutually reinforce each other. Indeed, on a medium to long-term scale, terrorist attacks cause more than just death, destruction and economic damage: they engender division and polarisation within communities and give rise to extremist and reactionary views within certain sectors of society. This creates a breeding ground for more extremism, contributing to a vicious cycle of radicalisation and violent responses. Therefore, this document does not focus on a unique form of radicalisation leading to a specific type of violent extremism, but rather aims at covering all shapes this phenomenon can take.



Chapter I


Understanding Radicalisation and Raising Awareness



Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

1. Understanding Radicalisation and Raising Awareness

Please visit to watch an introductory video for this chapter.

To date, there is no universally accepted definition or agreement about what precisely constitutes radicalisation, neither at the academic or governmental level. The concept itself cannot be taken as granted. Confusion around its definition is now even stronger because of the increasing concerns about terrorism and the huge amount of media coverage, not always based on evidence or enlightened analysis. In addition to the problem of correctly defining radicalisation, some academics have tried to prove that radicalisation as a phenomenon does not exist, but rather constitutes a myth that serves as a way of pushing new security agendas and legitimising new state responses.2 However, rather than denying the validity of a concept that is likely to dominate research, public discourses and the policy arena for the next few years, most researchers and policymakers strive to better understand the causes and mechanisms that lead someone to accept violence as a justifiable means to achieve their goals.

2- A. Hoskins and B. O’Loughlin, ‘Media and the myth of radicalization’, in Media, War and Conflict 2: 2009.


I. Defining concepts

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Although its definition remains ambiguous and controversial, there is a general agreement that radicalisation refers to the process through which an individual or a group becomes extremist.3 4 Radicalisation can therefore be understood as a pathway to different forms of extremism - such as right-wing, left-wing, anarchist, religious, nationalist, and environmentalist extremism, etc. Understanding this phenomenon as a process implies progression leading to a result: extremism. It is at this stage, when it comes to defining the “end-points” of this progressive process, where more controversies emerge. Very often, the term radicalism is also used to refer to the outcome of radicalisation processes, implying that radicalised individuals become radicals. However, when looking at the lexical roots of the expression, radical implies the idea of changing fundamental societal status quo, also standing for progressive change and renewal.5 Political movements associated with liberal reform in the 18th century and socialist movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries called themselves radical. For instance, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King used to be considered as radicals and fought for freedoms and rights that are today part of our core values. 3- Some scholars have argued that radicalisation can also apply to “state preparation for conflict” as well as to non-state actors. However, common understanding of this issue is focused on the latter, since they represent a challenge, or even a threat, to the state and its population. This publication focuses on this common usage of radicalisation, which refers to non-state actors. See C. McCauley and S. Moskalenko “Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways Toward Terrorism”, in Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, 2008, pp 416 4- P. Neumann, “The trouble with radicalization”, in International Affairs, The Royal Institute of International Affairs Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 873–893, July 2013; Della Porta and G. LaFree, Guest Editorial: ‘Processes of Radicalization and De-Radicalization’, IJCV, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2012, p.4; C. McCauley and S. Moskalenko (2008) Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways Toward Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, 2008, p. 416; M. Ranstorp, Understanding Violent Radicalization: Terrorist and Jihadist Movements in Europe, Routledge, New York, 2010, pp 19-23; R. Borum, "Radicalization into Violent Extremism II: A Review of Conceptual Models and Empirical Research." Journal of Strategic Security 4, no. 4, 2011, p 37-62; F. Khosrokhavar, Radicalisation, Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, Paris, 2015. 5- A. P. Schmid, “Radicalisation, De-Radicalisation, Counter-Radicalisation: A Conceptual Discussion and Literature Review”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 2013, p.12.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

On the other hand, despite its ambiguity and different meanings, extremism can be described as ideas that are diametrically opposed to a society’s core values, characterised by intolerance of opposing discourses.6 Two main types of extremism are usually stressed as resulting from radicalisation processes: cognitive and behavioural extremism:7

 Cognitive extremism: This refers to ideas which, according to current liberal democracies, are diametrically opposed to society’s core values. This can imply any form of attempt to impose supremacy of a certain ideology or belief upon society, by denying democratic and human rights principles.

 Behavioural extremism: This refers to the means and methods used by those seeking to reach their goals, regardless of the lives, human rights or liberty of others. As a consequence, some think of radicalisation as a process that leads to “extremist” views, while others also highlight the violent behaviour that sometimes results from this process. Obviously, it is radicalisation leading to behavioural extremism that is the greatest concern, since it often leads to the use of violence as a means of acting out certain ideas, and consequently can constitute an actual threat to society and its security. As a result, many scholars and governments use the terms “violent extremism” to refer to this latter type of extremism.8 The link between cognitive and behavioural extremism is being debated. While some argue that the first leads to the second, others argue that they are not linked. Clearly, not every radical thinker behaves in a radical way. In fact, a pluralistic, democratic society with freedom of thought and conscience grants its citizens the liberty to hold radical


6- Roger Scruton gives three definitions of extremism: “Vague term, which can mean: 1. Taking a political idea to its limits, regardless of ‘unfortunate’ repercussions, impracticalities, arguments, and feelings to the contrary, and with the intention not only to confront, but also to eliminate, opposition. 2. Intolerance towards all views other than one’s own (for which, see toleration). 3. Adoption of means to political ends which disregard accepted standards of conduct, in particular which show disregard for the life, liberty and human rights of others”. See R. Scruton, The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Political Thought, 3rd ed., Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. 7- P. Neumann, “The trouble with radicalization”, in International Affairs, The Royal Institute of International Affairs Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 873–893, July 2013. 8- The terms extremism or extremist are almost always exonym— that is, applied by others to a group rather than by a group labelling itself as such.

views. However, once a worldview is not only radical in ideology but actively allows and calls for extreme methods and violence to achieve its goals, a step towards violence and possibly terrorism is taken. Thus, and as it poses the greatest threat to society, this publication focuses on the issue of radicalisation leading to violent extremism and its prevention.

II. Mechanisms and levels of explanation: understanding the process

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> As explained above, there is not one unique theory of radicalisation. Different disciplines provide varying ways of understanding this phenomenon. For example, sociology, psychology and psychiatry allow us to understand factors at the group and individual levels that increase the likelihood of radicalisation. While political sciences, theology and philosophy provide insights into the logic of extremist views in terms of political and identity claims; economics and law describe the material context in which the process takes place and the legal framework in which it is dealt with, and so forth. However, despite the diversity of theories, virtually all academic models conceptualise radicalisation as a progressive process that takes place over a period of time. As such, the progressive nature of the phenomenon implies the passage through different steps and stages over time, as well as the involvement of different driving and explanatory factors and dynamics. This has been described through different academic models, such as Moghaddam’s staircase9, McCauley and Moskalenkos’ pyramid10, Baran’s conveyor belt11 or the Huq/NYPD model12. 9- F. M. Moghaddam, "The Staircase to Terrorism: A psychological exploration," in American Psychologist 60 ,2005, pp 161–169. 10- C. McCauley and S. Moskalenko, “Mechanisms of Political radicalization: Pathways Toward Terrorism”, in Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, 2008, pp 415-433. 11- Z. Baran, “Fighting the war of ideas”, in Foreign Affairs 84: 6, Nov.–Dec. 2005. 12- M. D. Silber and A. Bhatt, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat, New York: Police Department, City of New York, NYPD Intelligence Division, 2007.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Fathali Moghaddam developed the metaphor of a “staircase to terrorism” to explain the progressive nature of radicalisation. This model states that individuals ascend from the ground floor through five successive levels until becoming extremists at the final level (see figure 1 below). According to this model, fewer and fewer people ascend to the next level, which means that a relatively small number of people progress to the last level: terrorism. Figure 1: Moghaddam’s staircase

Fifth floor The Terrorist Act and Sidestepping Inhibitory Mechanism Fourth floor Solidification of Categorical Thinking and the Perceived Legitimacy of the Terrorist Organisation

Third floor Moral Engagement

Second floor Displacement of Aggression

First floor Perceived Options to Fight Unfair Treatment

Ground floor Psychological Interpretation of Material Conditions

Source: F. M. Moghaddam, "The Staircase to Terrorism: A psychological exploration", in American Psychologist 60, 2005, pp 161–169.


In the same vein, also stressing the fact that only a small minority of those who radicalise actually become terrorists, McCauley and Moskalenko reflect a similar hypothesis in their pyramid model.13 From the base to the apex, the higher levels of this pyramid correspond to increased radicalisation of beliefs, feelings, and behaviours. The borders between the different levels of the pyramid represent the key transition points of radicalisation: from doing nothing to doing something. For instance, from legal to illegal political action, and from this to actually committing acts of terrorism. This model also stresses that an individual may not necessarily progress through each succeeding level in a linear way in his/her path to becoming a terrorist. Figure 2: McCauley and Moskalenko’s pyramid

Personal moral obligation




Source: Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko, “Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways Toward Terrorism”, in Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, 2008, pp 415-433.

13- Clark McCauley, "Jujitsu Politics: Terrorism and Response to Terrorism", in Paul R. Kimmel and Chris E. Stout, eds., Collateral Damage: The Psychological Consequences of America’s War on Terrorism, Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006, pp 45–65 and Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko (2008) Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways Toward Terrorism, Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, pp 415-433.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

In both models, climbing up the staircase or pyramid of radicalisation is not an automatic process. Different psychological processes, explained by different psychological theories, are at work at each stage. In this sense, there is no single cause or combination of factors that explain the progression within both models. Rather, there is an interplay between different factors that emerge from different contexts and levels of explanation (local and global level). Therefore, finding decisive factors has proven to be extremely difficult. However, efforts to identify some of the latter have contributed to the creation of a “kaleidoscope of factors” that might lead to radicalisation.14 This kaleidoscope of factors can broadly be gathered according to their geographical dimensions. Some scholars use the distinction between internal and external levels15, while others refer to three levels of explanation: micro-level, meso-level and macro-level.16 The differences between these three levels of explanations can be explained as follows:

 Micro-level: This level of understanding refers to the individual level and includes all forms of individual experience or feeling (real or perceived), such as alienation, discrimination, and humiliation.

 Meso-level: This level of explanation concerns the close environment of the individuals and the dynamics that exist within this milieu.

 Macro-level: This level of explanation refers to a larger scale of environment and is mainly related to societal and national/foreign policy issues. All these levels of understanding, whether referred to as internal or external, micro, meso or macro, highlight the paramount position of grievance and discontent among these factors, as well as the importance of individual vulnerability and exposure to radical settings.

14- M. Ranstorp, Understanding Violent Radicalisation: Terrorist and Jihadist Movements in Europe, Routledge, New York, 2010, pp 19-23. 15- Ibid. 16- A. P. Schmid, “Radicalisation, De-Radicalisation, Counter-Radicalisation: A Conceptual Discussion and Literature Review”, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 2013, p. 4; M. Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, p. 115; S. Malthaner, The Radical Milieu, Bielefeld: Institut für interdisziplinäre Konfliktund Gewaltforschung (IKG), 2010, p. 1; see also S. Malthaner and P. Waldmann (Eds.), Radikale Milieus. Das soziale Umfeld terroristischer Gruppen, Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag, 2012.


III. Preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Recognising that radicalisation is a process shows that there is significant scope for prevention, allowing the local level, and in particular local authorities, to make an important contribution to tackling the phenomenon. The academic models presented above suggest that there are at least four different target audiences for preventive measures (see figure 3 below): the general public (those marked in green), those who might be at risk of radicalising (marked in yellow), those who are actually in a process of radicalisation (marked in orange) and finally those who are already violent extremists (marked in red). Figure 3: Target audiences for preventive measures

Violent extremists Individuals in a process of radicalisation

Individuals at risk

General public

Source: Efus17 17- This diagram is based on the different models presented in this chapter and on different tools used by national and local authorities. See �practices and tools� section.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Parallels can be drawn with primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. While the first aims to generally limit risk factors, the second concretely targets individuals who have been identified as already displaying problematic behaviour, and the third focuses on encouraging and allowing people to leave violent extremism, concentrating on disengagement from violence, de-radicalisation and preventing re-offending. The first is about creating resilience to the appeal of extremist messages, providing spaces where individuals can express their grievances and develop their personal skills and self-confidence. The second is about creating doubt and offering help to individuals who are in the process of being radicalised, as well as to their family and friends. The last is clearly the most difficult but also the most promising in terms of targeting those who would like to leave an extremist group. As developed further in subsequent chapters, different tools and types of action can provide guidance on how help should be developed and provided. A key question, however, is how to identify those at risk, those who are starting to radicalise but are not yet violent extremists, and those for whom the general and specific support systems are designed. This is one of the greatest challenges, in particular because radicalisation is not limited to a specific social milieu, ethnic or religious background.18 Therefore, understanding the radicalisation process in this area is crucial. Several attempts have been made to detect signs of radicalisation and to estimate at which stage of radicalisation an individual finds himself in order to propose appropriate measures and decide which will be the most successful way to approach him/her. Based on the theoretical understanding of the process of radicalisation and the accompanying empirical evidence, national but also local authorities have developed sets of indicators to detect signs of radicalisation (see tools section for further details). These tools can be used to raise awareness among first line professionals and provide them with a guide to help them detect and support individuals early on in the radicalisation process, in addition to effective training on the subject. It is

18- F. Vermeulen and F. Bovenkerk, Engaging with Violent Islamic Extremism. Local Policies in Western European Cities, Den Haag 2012; D.H. Heinke, German Jihadists in Syria and Iraq: An Update, ICSR Insight, London 2016.


important to emphasise that warning signs, if applied by non-trained professionals, can entail some danger such as false positives/referrals, which can have a negative impact on individuals and social cohesion, or lead to a risk of stigmatisation, as well as damage the abilities of local professionals to intervene in genuine cases. Caution is thus indispensable at this stage. Firstly, what matters is not a few warning signs but rather the bigger picture, collated from a whole set of indicators. A single indicator alone can hardly say anything concrete about the potential radicalisation of an individual. Secondly, the picture these indicators depict does not represent the whole truth about a person, if he or she is being radicalised or even dangerous. A set of indicators is thus simply a tool to help determine which areas of support and assistance should be offered in each individual case. Therefore, it should be used carefully and only be taken for what it is: a tool that should provide a better understanding of a situation. It can for example be used to bring individual cases to the attention of specialists or a commission of specialists, who assess individual cases in detail and decide what could or should be done. Also regarding warning signs, those working with these indicators should be aware of their constant evolution. Indeed, extremists are very often aware of these signs being identified and do their best to avoid showing them in order to go unnoticed.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Practices and tools

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please visit to consult the following resources.

Practices Rotterdam - Radicalisation Contact and Advisory Point (Netherlands) Created in 2011, following a previous version called the Information Switchpoint (2005), the Contact and Advisory Point provides support for volunteers and professionals on the general issue of radicalisation and on individual cases.

Bordeaux - Centre for the Prevention of Individual Radicalisation (France) The Centre for the Prevention of Individual Radicalisation was created in 2016 to inform citizens and give advice to citizens and first line social and youth workers, as well as to prevent radicalisation by deconstructing extremist discourses and theories and fostering religious understanding.

Tools, methods and sets of indicators to detect and analyse the state of radicalisation UK Prevent tool: Extremist Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+) methodology (United Kingdom) The UK Extremist Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+) methodology presents 22 factors that describe individual vulnerability to radicalisation. Starting with very general feelings of anger and injustice, feelings of insecurity or being threatened, the need for identity and belonging, the need for status, and the need for excitement and adventure, it firstly describes 13 indicators for engagement before adding indicators that


show intent (including over-identification with a group, 'them and us thinking', and harmful means objectives) and capability (including knowledge, access to resources and criminal history).

French Ministry of the Interior: Indicateurs de basculement (indicators of a switch) (France) The French set of indicators for radicalisation lists indicators for strong and weak signs of rupture, personal environment, theories and discourses, as well as techniques and time spent in prison. All of these indicators should help the detection and analysis of radicalisation in individuals, leading to the provision of appropriate support. These can be used to raise awareness among first-line professionals and provide them with tools to detect and help individuals early on in the process, in addition to effective training on the subject. Prevenir-la-radicalisation/Indicateurs-de-basculement Centre of Higher Studies of the Ministry of the Interior: e-learning platform for the prevention of radicalisation (France) This platform includes a set of thematic videos in which various experts present theoretical and practical information regarding the prevention of radicalisation. From understanding radicalisation to the role of mayors, this e-learning platform can be used to raise awareness and deliver training among practitioners and local elected officials.

Centre for the Prevention of Radicalisation Leading to Violence of Montreal (Canada) - Barometer of Behaviour This barometer enables to better assess behaviours associated with the process of radicalisation leading to violence. However, it should be used with caution insofar as the behaviours featured are neither exhaustive nor always conclusive. The barometer is only a bellwether and


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

should not lead to hasty conclusions or be used instead of a more thorough evaluation by experts.


Chapter II >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Developing a Local Multi-agency Strategy >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

2. Developing a Local Multi-agency Strategy

Please visit to watch an introductory video for this chapter.

Despite the transnational scope of radicalisation, some of its factors have local components, such as grievances related to living conditions in the neighbourhood, discrimination, the negative influence of peer groups, a lack of social cohesion, and lack of any real experience of democratic values; radicalisation is thus, at least in part, a local issue, manifesting itself in the destruction of families, and the stigmatisation of neighbourhoods and communities. Local authorities are strategically positioned to react to this phenomenon, in particular for the following reasons: they are close to the population; they are directly in contact with citizens who they can inform and support; they lead local public services, and they manage the key institutions that work on prevention and security. With this in mind, it is therefore advisable that local authorities integrate their preventive actions into a larger local strategy. The following chapter presents the main principles that should be considered when designing, implementing and assessing a local strategy for preventing radicalisation. They include: the need for expertise and evidence-based interventions; the key role of local elected offi-


cials; the importance of integrating all levels of prevention; the need to develop a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach through strong partnerships between services, and the use of a local communications strategy.

I. Think global, act local: glocalisation and the development of a local strategy

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The design stage in the development of a local radicalisation prevention strategy is essential for building a clear framework of intervention within which an efficient and sustainable action plan can be implemented. This initial stage must allow local stakeholders to define the policy vision of the municipality, to determine objectives and methods to attain them, and to establish the evaluation process and communication framework. Listed below are some non-exhaustive guidelines for comprehensive local strategies to prevent radicalisation: The importance of using evidence and expertise to formulate strategies: An evidence-based approach must guide any policy design and intervention process.

 Diagnosis: in order to address the causes of violent extremism, diagnosis should specify protective and risk factors (push and pull factors) to be tackled, as well as how this phenomenon manifests itself at the local level.

 Analysis: local partners from different services should be involved in the assessment of the situation, including: the police and intelligence services, municipal services, frontline workers, the academic sector and civil society. This cooperative effort must be supported by the mayor, who should act as leader of the local partnership and promote interdisciplinary dialogue.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

 Evaluation: as the radicalisation phenomenon, local capacity, resources and priorities all inevitably change with time, the strategy should be regularly evaluated and adapted.

 Expertise: given the complexity of the issue, local stakeholders should constantly update their knowledge and be willing to request support from external experts and use external research if the need arises.

Role of elected officials: Although mayors in different parts of Europe have differing legal powers in terms of security19, they usually all play a key role in ensuring the effective governance of preventive programmes. However, mayors and their local teams confront different challenges and obstacles in their efforts to prevent radicalisation, and this affects the types of roles they can play and the degree in which they can contribute to fighting it. Their involvement in local prevention strategies has several advantages:

 As they work closely with the local population, mayors are better able to listen to their concerns, raise awareness by giving out information on the local context, explain the strategy and communicate on the actions implemented, and the procedures and services available to local citizens (such as what is the municipality doing to tackle the issue? How can assistance services be reached?).

 Mayors and their elected colleagues can contribute to reinforcing or creating trust between local institutions and the population and encouraging active citizen participation in policy-making, especially by emphasising their interest in addressing local matters.

 Through communication with the media and other institutions (the police, the justice system, intelligence services, ministries, etc.) local elected officials can convey accurate information on the local situation, needs and initiatives underway. 19- The powers of mayors are different in the Netherlands, Belgium or France; for instance in Belgium, mayors have legal administrative authority over the local police and are in charge of local public security, but in France, security is under the jurisdiction of the State and its Departmental Prefecture.


 The support of the prevention initiatives by local elected officials is key in order to give them visibility and legitimacy.

Implementation of a balanced crime prevention strategy: Preventive actions need to include various levels and domains of prevention and target specific recipients (further details at the end of this chapter):

 Specific and general measures of prevention: prevention strategies need to address individual situations (e.g. social support to individuals and their families) but also general categories (e.g. actions focused on large groups of population, professionals or territories).

 A balanced prevention strategy: budgets should not be dedicated exclusively to preventing radicalisation. Other domains of intervention, such as early prevention and social cohesion, must continue to be funded and developed especially since they can contribute to preventing radicalisation.

Multi-agency and integrated approach: As local policy coordinators, mayors are strategically placed to promote cooperation between different services in order to address the different aspects of radicalisation. Key partners can include: the police, security services, intelligence and judicial services, schools, local stakeholders working in prevention, youth centres, families, community centres, local communities, and private local businesses (non-exhaustive list).

 It is important to try and work with existing resources in order to avoid overlapping between services and ensure that implemented actions are coherent.

 Multi-agency collaboration requires good communication between partners and well-defined procedures of action (such as who does what? When? How?) Each partner needs to specify their exact actions in order to make sure all partners know and understand their own role and the roles of others. A representative from each service must be identified to ensure and improve appropriate communication and information sharing between services.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

 Clear and transparent information about the partners’ individual tasks must be made available to avoid any mistrust or tension arising between partners during the implementation of actions.

 The respect of partners’ values and ethics is essential: professional confidentiality is a delicate issue but should not hinder partnership. Most of the time legislation allows for exceptional cases, where confidential information can be shared without putting professionals or beneficiaries of the action in danger.

Communications strategy: Violent extremism is a delicate and complex phenomenon. An appropriate and well-prepared institutional communication strategy is crucial in order to avoid mistrust, misunderstanding or the spreading of dangerous antagonistic messages across communities that might damage social cohesion.

 Informing the public: keeping the local population informed about the municipality’s approach against radicalisation is crucial to establish and maintain trust and credibility among the community. Given the sensitive nature of some of the strategy’s aspects and the issues that it addresses, open communication is important. The communications strategy also needs to address peoples’ concerns, ranging from privacy and freedom of speech to the stigmatisation of certain groups.

 Internal communications strategy: municipal services need to be well-informed in order to properly apply procedures and implement the strategy.

 Local authorities need to establish procedures for dealing with the media, especially after unexpected events. The eventuality of having to responding to unexpected events, from extremist demonstrations to terrorist attacks, must be included in the communications strategy. Local authorities should ensure that the response occurs in a timely manner to keep the population safe and informed, the flow of information is controlled, and extremists are prevented from taking advantage of the situation.


 The local communications strategy should be developed in line with the communications policy of regional, national and international authorities in order to ensure the consistency of the messages that are put across these three political levels.

II. Types of actions implemented at the local level

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Radicalisation is explained by multiple factors at micro, meso and macro levels. Local authorities can act at the micro and meso levels (community relations, local environment) and implement different types of preventive actions.20 The following range of actions is not exhaustive and depends on local context and resources.

Primary prevention (general public): Information contact points; early prevention programmes (improving individual and collective abilities to resilience); education in critical thinking, citizenship, social cohesion and intercultural programmes; investment in social living conditions (housing, collective infrastructures, and urban renewal of neighbourhoods). Secondary prevention (individuals at risk): Individual and collective social prevention programmes (capacity for resilience, social insertion); family support (peer-to-peer networks, legal information, psychosocial support); intercultural mediation in neighbourhoods; mentoring.

20- See Brantinham and Fausts’ distinction between primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in P.J. Brantingham and F.L. Faust, “A Conceptual Model of Crime Prevention”, in Crime and Delinquency, July 1976 22, pp. 284-296.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Tertiary prevention (extremists): De-radicalisation and disengagement programmes focused on social reinsertion: case management unit, intensive monitoring of individuals.

Former radicalised individuals can help in these prevention programmes, especially within secondary and tertiary prevention initiatives. For instance, they can contribute with their experiences and participate as credible actors in de-radicalisation or counter-narrative measures.21 In addition to the social prevention strategy, local authorities are also responsible for reacting to unexpected events, such as terrorist attacks. Indeed, although national bodies are usually in charge of managing events of this type, local bodies can also react to them and manage the local situation through the various services they oversee. Local emergency plans must therefore be regularly updated to ensure that authorities are able to quickly and appropriately react to these events.

III. Recommendations

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The following recommendations are applicable to the points cited above:

 Strategies should not be built hastily, even when facing pressure from the media or partners; a solid, sustainable strategy is better than a “quick win”, which will have a poor local impact in the long run. Firstly, listen to the competent services, families, and stakeholders in order to analyse the situation, and then act strategically.

 Security is everybody’s business and civil society collaboration is essential for prevention. Community representatives can help by 21- Authorities must make sure that such individuals receive proper training before being called to participate in de-radicalisation and disengagement projects. Intelligence services can help identify, screen and select former extremists apt for such tasks.



offering and exchanging information and contributing to local assessments of the situation and the implementation of actions.

 Always ensure professional confidentiality. It is a legal obligation and a protective safeguard for beneficiaries of the actions. Usually there is no need to change the legislation for the multi-agency approach to be effective. The guidelines, procedures, and professional rules guaranteeing the confidentiality of social work and the respect of professional ethics should be clarified rather than asking for legal changes.

 Make sure enough time is planned for the evaluation of the policy process. This phase is usually forgotten due to lack of time and/or resources.

 Internal transparent communication is essential to ensure good collaboration between local services, and avoid rumours, misunderstandings and polarisation of attitudes.

Practices and tools

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please visit to consult the following resources

Practices Brussels’ Radicalisation Prevention Unit (Belgium) Brussels’ Radicalisation Prevention Unit works according to the three traditional levels of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary. Depending on the level of prevention, the actions might target one or more groups. This unit relies on a collaboration between different local and national services.

Liège’s Local Strategy for the Prevention of Radicalisation (Belgium) Based on an intersectoral local and cooperative approach (municipal,


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

youth, social, school and police services), this strategy works across all three levels of prevention: educational actions with young people, positive communication to the population and individual psychological intervention. Different national and local services are integrated in this strategy.

Augsburg’s Network for the Prevention of Salafism (Germany) The network was set up in 2016 to raise awareness about radicalisation among all relevant stakeholders and prevent it by increasing knowledge about this phenomenon. The network is based on solid cooperation and support between municipal services and specialised NGOs. The strategy also includes de-radicalisation interventions.

Key Figures, Amsterdam (Netherlands) The city of Amsterdam developed its “Key Figures” programme, in which more than 200 young adults have enrolled in order to help local communities recognise and diffuse tensions at the grass-root level. Through this programme, radicalisation signs are accurately identified at the local level, allowing better understanding of the local context.

Tools The role of local authorities in national strategies for combatting radicalisation, Efus Over the last few years, national strategies have been designed and implemented throughout Europe to tackle radicalisation. Efus’ memo “The role of local authorities in national strategies for combatting radicalisation” presents the national strategies adopted by nine European countries, which involve local authorities in the actions planned. The document summarises the main points of these national approaches and measures.


Local authorities in European and international guidelines for fighting radicalisation, Efus The role of European local authorities in the struggle against radicalisation has been addressed in several international and European guidelines issued by international organisations. This article presents the comprehensive approach recommended by these organizations for dealing with the radicalisation process, which, by its very nature, must involve local authorities.

Terrorism and radicalisation (TerRa) toolkit This toolkit takes a community-led approach as its starting point. It is primarily meant to support existing or new networks of teachers, social workers, law enforcement officers, religious leaders, and local and national policymakers in their exchange of information on young people or people from troubled neighbourhoods. It also informs journalists and policymakers about their influence on the background causes of radicalisation. (This toolkit is available in English and Dutch).

Strong Cities Network The Strong Cities Network (SCN) is the first ever global network of mayors, municipal-level policymakers and practitioners aimed at building social cohesion and community resilience to counter violent extremism. Led by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the SCN aims at providing a global platform to support cities in developing effective counter-extremism frameworks and practices, facilitating mutual learning and exchange best practice between cities on the prevention of violent extremism.

Alliance of European cities against violent extremism The initiative Alliance of European cities against violent extremism


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

aims to provide a platform to facilitate inter-city exchange at the political and subsequently technical level, and mobilise European local and regional authorities for the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism. As such, it seeks to provide a European forum for the exchange of information on promising practices, existing programmes and tools for prevention of radicalisation. This initiative is led by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus).

Prevent, communication guide (UK) This communication guide developed by the UK government’s Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU) is meant to help local authorities to communicate their counter-extremism strategy and initiatives to their local community in an effective and transparent manner.

Methods and Tools for a Strategic Approach to Urban Security, Efus The purpose of this guidebook is to encourage and help European local policymakers and practitioners to build and review their security policies using reliable information and data collected on the ground. It gives an overview of the methods and tools available to local actors, as well as presenting an analysis of the experiences and practices of different countries.

RAN LOCAL, Radicalisation Awareness Network The RAN LOCAL Working Group aims to bring together the local authorities in charge of coordinating practitioners and organising their multi-agency work and structures. As such, RAN LOCAL collects, compares and shares different existing models for organising local preventive approaches.


Chapter III >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Supporting and Empowering Families >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

3. Supporting and Empowering Families

Please visit to watch an introductory video for this chapter.

Crime prevention literature showed in the 1990s22 that families could play a key role in addressing the risk factors that lead to an individual’s involvement in crime. Based on this assumption, numerous familybased crime prevention programmes have been developed by authorities in recent decades. In a similar vein, policymakers and current research are increasingly recognising the key role of families in preventing radicalisation. Indeed, they are usually the first to recognise the early warning signs of radicalisation and, furthermore, they can act as important agents of change and offer unique support to radicalised individuals because of their proximity and emotional ties with them. Families are thus usually considered as actors in need of assistance and support. Terms such as “family support” or “family assistance” are frequently used to refer to the support offered to families, and in particular parents, to help them deal with the radicalisation of their relative(s). 22- L. W. Sherman, “Family-Based Crime prevention”, in Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising, Chapter 4, National Institute of Justice, 1998.


However, although families23 are in a sense also victims of the radicalisation process, and thus need assistance and counselling to deal with the radicalisation of their close relative(s), they should also be viewed as powerful actors whose knowledge and experience can be used as part of preventive actions. Therefore, families should not just be seen as passive actors in need of help and support but also as pro-active stakeholders who hold the key to valuable information and resources and whose involvement within preventive actions can be extremely valuable.

I. Different stages and forms of family support and empowerment

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> As concerns supporting and empowering families, it is important to remember that each one is confronted with a different kind of scenario, depending on the degree in which their relative(s) is radicalised, and why. There are three main kinds of scenarios families face:

No signs of radicalisation  Individual at risk and displaying the first signs of radicalisation (early stages)

 Individuals already radicalised or engaged in violent extremist groups Each stage requires diverse and different responses, which can result in different forms and levels of family involvement. The different types of family involvement and/or empowerment correspond to the three levels of crime prevention – primary, secondary and tertiary – as well as to the two main dimensions of action: universal/general (primary prevention) and focused (secondary and tertiary prevention).

23- The term ‘family’, while usually referring to parents, can also encompass other family members, such as siblings, cousins, and grandparents.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Primary (general) prevention: no signs of radicalisation Families should be involved in early prevention measures even when no signs of radicalisation are evident. In this sense, all families are the beneficiaries of this type of prevention, regardless of their concern with respect to radicalisation.

Raising awareness about radicalisation Families need to be informed and aware of the issue of radicalisation. This can be achieved through using different channels of communication to provide them with reliable information on a phenomenon that is frequently surrounded by misunderstanding and inaccurate data (often as a result of biased media coverage). This can take the form of awareness-raising campaigns or meetings organised in local schools or neighbourhoods.

 Communication campaigns: these can be very useful for raising awareness among families. Special attention should be paid to how the issue is framed and the messages sent out by the campaign. It should be based on a responsible and balanced approach in order to avoid provoking any unintended negative consequences, such as paranoia or fear.

 Neighbourhood/school meetings: meetings between families and local authorities/NGOs offer good opportunities to discuss the issue of radicalisation, a topic that is often discussed in the media but less between real people in the communities that it affects. Again, the way the phenomenon is presented at these meetings should be based on a responsible and balanced approach.

Communication about assistance options Local authorities need to make citizens aware of the existing services offering assistance to families. Whether these services are run by NGOs or the municipality, information should be provided on how to access them.


Secondary (focused) prevention: individuals at risk and early signs of radicalisation Families are usually the first to detect worrying signs of radicalisation displayed by their relative(s) but often do not know how to deal with the situation. Local authorities should therefore ensure that existing or new ad hoc services provide families with reliable expertise and knowledge to address their domestic concerns. The main recipients of the initiatives mentioned below are families affected by possible cases of radicalisation.

Family counselling (individual or group based) Family counselling can take different forms and can target specific needs. Families might need specific information regarding the behavioural changes of a relative or even legal information regarding judicial procedures that might concern them (e.g. if a relative wants to join a conflict area). These interventions can be organised at the individual or collective level. In this sense, some cities have organised meetings between affected families, sometime through parent networks.

 Family networks: parents need a safe space in which to share their experiences and gain insight from other parents who may be experiencing similar challenges. Breaking down the silence and stigma many parents face is key to addressing the threat of radicalisation. Therefore, group support through parent groups and networks is very important when working with families.

Empowering families Families should be provided with the confidence and skills to effectively protect their children from violent extremist ideologies and recruiters. This can take different forms in terms of empowerment. Training sessions specifically designed for families are increasingly being implemented for this purpose.

 Training: families can be trained to recognise and respond to early warning signs of radicalisation displayed by relatives. They can also


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

be trained in engaging in critical discussions and interactive exercises focusing on child development, adolescence, parenting dynamics and communication, as well as building personal, family and community resilience.

Tertiary (focused) prevention: individuals already radicalised/ engaged in violent extremist groups/activities Families can also be confronted by radicalised extremist individuals who might be involved in violent episodes in their daily life or might have returned from a conflict zone after having been engaged in terrorist activities. The main recipients of the initiatives described below are families whose relatives are already radicalised or engaged in violent extremist groups/activities.

 De-radicalisation and disengagement: families can be involved when working with individuals who want to disengage or de-radicalise from violent extremist environments or ideologies. Indeed, families have proved to be powerful actors in ensuring the social reintegration of radicalised individuals wanting to leave extremist groups/activities, and in preventing reoffending. Emotional ties can play a key role in this kind of initiative, ensuring longer-term results than programs solely involving professionals.

 Family counselling: when confronted with radicalised relatives or returnees, families might be in need of assistance. In particular, they may need help with administrative procedures for penal measures, for instance regarding the legal consequences for a relative returning from a conflict zone after having engaged in terrorist groups/activities. It can also encompass psychological support offered to families after acts of violence committed by a relative.


II. How to reach and liaise with families

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> One of the greatest challenges local authorities face when working with families is how to approach them or convince them to make use of available support services. It is therefore essential to ensure that the channels of contact presented above, through which families can solicit help and access services, are maintained. There are various types of assistance services:

 Helplines: this kind of phone line aims primarily to provide support and guidance to callers. In contrast to the term “hotline”, which signifies a phone line for reporting suspicious activities, the term “helpline” refers to giving the caller specific help and information.

 Contact and advisory point: in addition to helplines, families can also be referred to a physical support centre where they can receive assistance from professionals with relevant expertise and knowledge.

 Local street level services: street/neighbourhood level services (mediators, community guards, neighbourhood social workers) benefit from a certain acceptance and respect within communities and can be reached by families. They can also disseminate information on existing support services. They usually have a good understanding of the social dynamics of certain neighbourhoods, allowing them to better identify families who might be affected by radicalisation but who might not want to solicit help.

 Family networks: organising meetings between families can be a good tool for reaching out to them. These meetings constitute a safe space for them, especially since they are surrounded by those who share the same issue, offering them a sense of solidarity.

 Schools: educational structures are strategic channels through which families can be approached, especially to raise their awareness. Most teachers already have established links with parents and thus can easily give them information and advice on available services.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

The different channels of contact and types of initiatives mentioned above can be run by local authorities or NGOs. Choosing who will run these practices and therefore who will make initial contact with the families is a crucial success factor. Whether a family is willing to cooperate with the authorities is entirely down to who approaches them and how they go about it. Many families resist approaching official institutions, out of fear of stigmatisation or legal consequences for their relatives, or simply because of language barriers. It is thus essential that they are made to feel safe and comfortable with the intervening body, and that a relationship of trust is built between the two sides. Some cities will decide to delegate this task to NGOs or grassroots-level associations, while others will choose to operate through official local services.

III. Recommendations

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Meeting and working with families

 The voluntary engagement of families is essential to all of the aforementioned actions.

 It is important to keep in mind that while families can be part of the solution, they can also sometimes be part of the problem and act as radicalising agents themselves and therefore must be addressed as such.

 Staff involved in this process must be trained.  The presence of a psychologist during the meetings is important since many families may be afraid of stigma or talking about what happens in the home environment.

 Families must constantly be reassured that those offering them help respect professional confidentiality.

 Trust must be built with families. In this sense, it is important to keep in mind that taking notes during meetings can undermine trust.


 Families should be discouraged from being confrontational towards relatives when discussing the issue.

Approach and organisation

 The actors involved in family support actions must understand and accept the security/intelligence restrictions and act within their limits.

 Assessment is a key tool in this process. For instance, risk assessment of some individuals, or even families, throughout the process is essential.

Communication and information

 Awareness must be raised without stigmatising and it must be complemented by a comprehensive approach towards supporting families.

 Local authorities/NGOs must be able to communicate with families, and also to promote trust so that affected families feel confident in reaching out to them. In this sense it is important to create reliable, specialised and available structures.

 Communication should help identifying the existing programmes and alternatives (soft initiatives) that can be offered to individuals (i.e. returnees).

 Every activity (whether a meeting, counselling or helpline) must be presented to the families as a tool designed to help, not report, them. This will ensure that interventions are viewed positively, both in terms of trust and efficacy, by families. A positive image will gain the action visibility in the affected communities and spur others to solicit help, for example foreign fighters might request assistance from a support programme (depending on the country).

 Those in charge of assistance services should try to make sure that their services come up as the first Internet search result.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Channels of contact

 Helplines should be available 24/7, free of charge, and in various languages; they should ensure the anonymity of callers' contact and a deontological charter.

 Staff involved in these channels must be trained in the psychological, legal and geopolitical aspects of the phenomenon of radicalisation.

Practices and tools

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please visit to consult the following resources:

Practices Family support multi-agency strategy, Antwerp (Belgium) Since 2012, the city of Antwerp has implemented a local prevention policy to tackle local radicalisation. Activities are undertaken according to different levels of intervention (individual and group approach). Working with families has constituted a key aspect of this strategy, especially within re-inclusion programmes.

Consultation team, Malmö (Sweden) The municipality of Malmö has a helpline that families and others can call if they feel worried about the violent extremism of a person close to them. The consultation analyses each case and decided the most suitable intervention. This structure cooperates with NGOs and other public services.


Collective Organisation of Moroccans in the Netherlands (Netherlands) In 2014 this organisation launched a helpline to help prevent radicalisation. The organisation considers it important that the Moroccan community organizes its own resilience against radicalisation and speaks openly about it. The helpline is an independent initiative, where parents are offered support and help in a professional and confidential manner.

Hayat (Germany) Hayat (Turkish and Arabic for “Life“) is the first German counselling program for persons involved in radical Salafist groups or on the path towards violent Jihadist radicalisation, including those travelling to Syria and other combat zones. Hayat also offers support to relatives of radicalised individuals.

Tools SAVE, Society Against Violent Extremism (Belgium) SAVE Belgium was created with the aim of raising awareness about the impact of radicalisation within families as well as offering them support in facing this phenomenon. As such, they developed a set of videos that can be used to show concrete examples of families affected by radicalisation processes.

Women Without Borders (Austria) This organisation encourages women to become active participants in their communities, to co-shape their present and their future by promoting the role of women in the sphere of security. The organisation raises awareness among mothers in particular about their role and responsibility to challenge violent extremist ideologies. As such, they deliver training to empower mothers against this phenomenon.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Families Against Terrorism and Extremism Families Against Terrorism and Extremism (FATE) is an organic network of organisations working with families concerned by the phenomenon of radicalisation and violent extremism. FATE offers toolkits, guidance and communications support to its members, linking them together.


Chapter IV >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Prevention and Resilience-building >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

4. Prevention and Resilience-building

Please visit to watch an introductory video for this chapter.

A preventive approach focuses on individuals who are likely to come across extremist messages and be attracted to the ideas and propositions they offer. It aims to raise awareness about the fallacies of extremist groups’ ideologies and patterns of behaviour, and to build resilience24 against their propositions. It intends to block pathways to extremism and extremist circles by addressing individual, social and political risk factors. Prevention requires change, both within potentially vulnerable youngsters and young adults as well as within society itself. Neither far-right extremism nor religiously motivated extremism is limited to a distinct social milieu.25 Measures to prevent radicalisation thus target the general public, regardless of citizens’ social, ethnic

24- Resilience can be understood as “the ability to ‘bounce back’ when being confronted with challenging situations and adversity. It means being ready for things to come, dealing with and learning from events, and even becoming stronger after challenging experiences (...) Resilience is a mix of physical, emotional, social and mental awareness and competency”. See Belgium’s Federal Public Service Home Affairs, BOUNCE along, Awareness-raising for Parents and Frontline Workers, 2014, p15. 25- F. Vermeulen and F. Bovenkerk, Engaging with Violent Islamic Extremism. Local Policies in Western European Cities, The Hague 2012; D.H. Heinke, German Jihadists in Syria and Iraq: An Update, ICSR Insight, London 2016.


or religious backgrounds.26 These measures also often overlap with existing actions focused on social cohesion; public health policy; family counselling; citizenship and human rights education; anti-bias and anti-violence schemes, diversity education and religious education. This overlap is highlighted by the wide range of actors involved in building resilience and preventive actions, and in the fields which contribute to formulating and implementing activities on this topic. Experience has demonstrated the mounting importance of institutions such as youth centres, social and mental health services, family counselling centres, sports clubs and religious communities in addressing the concerns of those at risk of radicalisation and in providing alternatives to extremist organisations. Prevention encompasses improvements to education about citizenship and human rights, aiming to increase tolerance and highlight the importance of social, cultural and religious diversity as a basic tenet of a peaceful, modern society. This includes the recognition of the universal equality of humans, irrespective of ethnicity, culture, religion or gender. Intercultural and interreligious education is key to challenging far-right and extremist religious understandings of society as homogeneous and monolithic. It also contributes to strengthening social cohesion by encouraging individuals to reflect upon and empathise with different life experiences and perspectives and to actively participate in society. This also requires that local institutions are diverse and representative themselves. In many cases, municipalities and other institutions are not representative of the population they serve, for example lacking sufficient Black and ethnic minority staff members, and thus contradict their own official messages about the value of diversity within society.

26- Several studies have pointed to the stigmatising effect of prevent policies focusing exclusively on Muslims. See for example L. Lindekilde, “Neo-liberal Governing of Radicals: Danish Radicalization Prevention Policies and Potential Iatrogenic Effects”, in International Journal of Conflict and Violence 6 (1), 2012, 109-122 and K. Öktem, Signale aus der Mehrheitsgesellschaft. Auswirkungen der Beschneidungsdebatte und staatlicher Überwachung islamischer Organisationen auf Identitätsbildung und Integration in Deutschland, Oxford 2013.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

I. Schools and formal education

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Schools are crucial actors in prevention strategies. Working closely with most young people, they provide the ideal setting to raise awareness about and build resilience to violent extremist ideologies, especially through the development of critical thinking. Formal education allows long-term engagement as well as short-term responses to immediate challenges. While municipalities are not directly involved in formal education in most EU countries, they can promote strategic approaches to dealing with radicalisation, for instance through information centres on radicalisation, and initiate cooperative partnerships between schools and local services/organisations to build sustainable local networks. Close cooperation between the municipality and schools and teachers is essential for exchanging information and assessing the evolution of the problem. As they are in contact with students on a day-to-day basis, teachers are often the first to notice personal changes, and are well placed to understand and assess potential causes. In addition, schools often voice concerns about making cases of extremism public, in case it harms their reputation. The pre-emptive development of concrete and transparent procedures is thus key to addressing these concerns. Dealing with cases of extremism within an institution should not be perceived as a sign of weakness. Formal education allows students to be informed about ideological claims and key extremist actors; it also provides an institutional structure for strengthening students’ social and cognitive competencies and fostering active citizenship. This encourages students to develop and articulate their opinions and interests, and provides a framework for active participation in extracurricular activities both inside and outside the institution. Significant differences exist between primary and secondary schools:

 Primary schools: questions of identity and religion can be addressed in order to introduce pupils to cultural and religious diversity and to raise awareness about different lifestyles and beliefs.


 Secondary schools: these provide the ideal setting in which to promote local democracy and critical thinking. This might include round-table discussions with local politicians prior to local elections, the organisation of charity events for victims of conflicts and natural disasters as well as exhibitions on historical, cultural, social or religious topics. In ‘multicultural classrooms’, these activities allow marginalised narratives about history, politics and society to be introduced (e.g. regarding global history, regional conflicts, religion, questions of identity, etc.) that are not usually part of mainstream discourse. Formal education also provides opportunities to deconstruct extremist messages in social media and reduce vulnerability to extremists’ media strategies and ideological claims. While citizenship education is a regular part of most national curricula, the place of religion in formal education differs considerably from country to country. Religious education, understood as introducing students to religious teachings and practices while raising awareness about religious and cultural diversity, is an effective way to challenge rigid understandings of religion by introducing different religious traditions and linking religious teachings to local contexts and the lifeworlds of young people. In addition, it also allows commonalities between religious groups to be highlighted and stereotypes and conflicts between them to be deconstructed. Religious topics can also be raised in non-confessional contexts, for instance in history classes, politics, ethics or social studies. In contrast to confessional religious education, these discussions do not intend to foster religious beliefs or to teach religious rituals; instead, they aim to place the religious concerns of young people (‘How do I have to dress?’, ‘How do I have to act in a certain situation?’, ‘What values are important to me?’) in broader social and historical contexts that are not limited to religious convictions and beliefs. Similarly to religious education, this approach allows religious extremist narratives, fixed traditions and clear-cut directives to be challenged.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

II. Youth welfare and social services

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Youth welfare and social services – either under the supervision of municipalities or NGOs – provide an additional framework for prevention and building resilience by giving weight to building social and communicative skills and competencies. They allow young people to engage in activities that strengthen self-confidence, promote self-efficacy and foster social and emotional bonds. In principle, this also relates to child welfare and its role in introducing children to cultural and religious diversity. Youth welfare and youth work also provide responses to recent trends among far-right and religious extremist currents. Extremist organisations have increasingly adopted youth cultural styles and activities as part of their outreach strategies. Music, social media and leisure activities feature prominently in extremist groups. These include concerts, excursions and other social events. While such activities are not illegal, they are used to mobilise youngsters to engage in and act on these organisations’ ideological claims. These activities (‘extremist youth work’) often fill a void in public service provisions. An inappropriate or insufficient institutional framework provides an opportunity for extremist organisations to reach vulnerable young people.27 It is in this context that sports and cultural associations can be useful partners in prevention activities. Football coaches, for instance, frequently relate stories about young people struggling with their identity, and with combining their religious beliefs with being a member in a soccer team. Being in close contact with these young people means that coaches are often among the first to notice individual grievances and internal conflicts that do not immediately manifest themselves

27- Religious extremist initiatives, for instance, frequently organise their events on public holidays (during Easter or Christmas) when most public facilities are closed. Similarly, reports from several countries point to repeated attempts by far-right organisations to infiltrate existing services such as Kindergarten and youth centres to spread their messages.


through extremist beliefs or behaviours. Lacking the relevant knowledge, skills and support structures to respond to these situations and to involve other institutions, they are unprepared to react. Strengthening these actors in identifying potential signs of radicalisation, and in encouraging them to address them, is crucial for early intervention. In addition to group-related activities, individual support has gained increasing importance in building resilience and preventing radicalisation processes. Several studies have highlighted the importance of personal crises, health and family problems as relevant risk-factors for radicalisation. In this context, youth, social and mental health services play a crucial role in supporting families in parental care, and dealing with intra-familial conflicts. Approaches to building resilience to extremism draw on knowledge gained from anti-bias and antiviolence approaches, which aim to strengthen personal skills and competencies, such as self-awareness and self-confidence. This also includes preparing individuals for vocations and supporting them in entering the job market. Educators, counsellors and mentors are well prepared for these tasks. However, additional training is still needed in order to ensure that these professionals understand risk factors of radicalisation. These include possible identity conflicts in young people from minority backgrounds. Raising awareness about these issues allows existing strategies to be adapted to the needs and requirements which result from the radicalisation process and the grooming strategies of extremist organisations.

III. Communities

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Religious and ethnic communities are often based on strong interpersonal relations and interactions. In many fields, they provide important social services that supplement public structures and institutions (i.e. welfare, education, cultural activities). In many countries, religious communities have been identified as important partners in the devel-


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

opment of prevention schemes to tackle religiously motivated extremism. This relates primarily to religious education, but also includes the provision of services and support structures in the fields of family counselling, welfare and general education. Despite their weight as social actors, religious communities often lack substantial funding and are frequently run by volunteers lacking the appropriate qualifications to deal with larger educational and administrative challenges. Strategies for cooperation should recognise these institutional limits and include the provision of training and resources. Islamic communities themselves have voiced increasing concern about signs of radicalisation and the influence of extremist currents among their population. This coincides with growing efforts by municipalities and other public institutions to integrate communities and their representatives into prevention networks at a local, regional and national level. While such cooperation in some countries builds on established contacts and relations, in others it is directly linked to recent security concerns related to the challenge of radicalisation and the growing number of individuals joining jihadist organisations. In some instances, this has led to considerable tensions with representatives of Islamic communities voicing opposition to exclusively security-related cooperation. Cooperation, they argue, should be conceived in a broader sense, including recognition of religious communities as important service providers in the fields of education and welfare. Another caveat of integrating religious communities into prevention activities relates to the choice of possible partners. For instance, while most established communities actively communicate with considerable segments of the local Muslim population, studies about Europeans in the ranks of jihadist organisations have pointed to the fact that most of them had not been involved in traditional communal structures in their home countries. Mainstream mosques, it is argued, do not appeal to individuals who are most attracted to the rigid and simple narratives promoted by extremist currents. Nevertheless, established communities can significantly contribute to strengthening alternative approaches to religious traditions, and broadening the spectrum of available religious choices. While they might not be able to reach out to


those individuals already on the path to extremism, they can provide alternative outlets for religious and communal life for those not yet radicalised. Choosing religious partners can also be challenging because certain communal religious institutions uphold religious interpretations or beliefs that contradict the basic principles and values of European societies (e.g. in relation to gender roles, pluralism, democracy, etc.). In countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, the role of these organisations in local or national prevention programmes has been at the centre of political controversies. While some countries have taken a clear stance against any cooperation with organisations deemed extremist – even those not promoting violence – others have opted for more pragmatic and interest-guided approaches that include communities, for instance with moderate Salafist leanings. Notwithstanding the risk that such approaches might strengthen the status of these organisations within the community, it allows casebased cooperation and coordinated interventions where security concerns or risks of violence are involved. In these cases, the aim of cooperation should be clearly defined and communicated.

IV. Police

>>>>>>>>>>>> Police work is not restricted to investigations and repression, but also includes the prevention of crime and offences. In several countries, the police are engaged in community policing that aims to strengthen ties with different religious and cultural communities. The importance of this work does not lie in information-gathering or ‘surveillance’, but rather in supporting communities and building trust with the aim of cooperation in various contexts. Experiences in several countries have shown the limits of cooperation when it is exclusively linked to religiously motivated extremism. Considering communities as partners also involves supporting communities against discrimination and hatecrimes.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

The radicalisation process involves an individual distancing him/herself from society and objecting to its institutions. Fostering trust in public institutions such as the police is thus an important part of prevention strategies. Seeing the police as an institution that is defending one’s rights and interests challenges the notion of victimhood and impotence that is exploited in extremist religious propaganda. In this sense, cooperation and dialogue with young people, enhancing their knowledge about the role of the police and its duty to protect all citizens irrespective of their origin or faith, are important for enhancing citizens’ identification with society and building people’s confidence in their status as equal to all other members of the community.

V. Recommendations

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Prevention and building resilience on a municipal level should include:

 The provision of information about extremist ideologies and organisations (i.e. through publications, information centres, etc.) to practitioners and first-line workers

 Training addressing the different fields of prevention  Provision of financial and administrative support to local actors  The establishment of local networking and exchange structures between services (including schools, municipal services, sports and cultural clubs, communities, the police, etc.)

 The continuous adaptation of municipal services according to changing needs and demands

 Awareness-raising about religious and cultural diversity in municipal institutions

 The strengthening of services supporting resilience-building in childhood and youth


 The fostering of local democracy, active citizenship and critical thinking

 The establishment of transparent and effective anti-discrimination policies

 Support to communities in tackling social exclusion and discriminatory discourses/hate speech.

Practices and tools

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please visit to consult the following resources:

Practices Second Wave Project, Vilvoorde (Belgium) In 2013, the city of Vilvoorde decided to organise meetings between young people and police officers. The objective was to prevent the polarisation of public attitudes by addressing existing conflicts between both groups, and to prevent these conflicts from contributing to radicalisation. The discussions were also aimed at promoting critical thinking among participants and improving relations between them.

Signpost, Düsseldorf (Germany) In 2013, the State of Westphalia launched the “Wegweiser” programme in different German cities. It aims to empower young people and build their resilience to extremist ideologies that glorify injustice. A centre was created to deliver counselling, particularly on neo-Salafism.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Mediation service, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Spain) Since 2006, the conflicts between young people at school, and in particular gang-related ones, have decreased in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The mediation service and its methodology of intervention have proven to be an effective tool in managing conflict and preventing the involvement of young people in violent groups.

Tools Bounce (Belgium) The Bounce project is a research-based training programme aimed at enhancing the resilience of young people against violent radicalisation. It focuses on the psycho-physical aspects of early prevention and offers awareness-raising tools for youngsters and their entourage (parents, teachers, social workers, etc.) The training and tools are implemented in 10 cities in five EU Member States.

Protest, provocation or propaganda? Guide to preventing Salafist ideologisation in schools and youth centres, (Germany) This guide is mainly directed at educators in schools and youth centres: it addresses the growing popularity of Salafist ideology among youngsters and highlights the various motivations that can lead youngsters to join religiously extreme groupings and organisations. Focusing on schools and youth work, it provides concrete examples to prevent radicalisation processes and to intervene in religiously motivated conflicts.


A Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism, UNESCO This document is designed for teachers in upper primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education. It seeks to provide practical advice on when and how to discuss the issue of radicalisation leading to violent extremism with learners and to help teachers to promote an inclusive climate in classrooms by enhancing critical thinking and dialogue.

The Instructor’s Handbook for the Civic and Social Competences Curriculum for Adolescents, Universal Curriculum Against Radicalisation in Europe (UCARE), University College Roosevelt UCARE is a curriculum that provides educational tools to foster citizenship and social skills in high school students, with the aim of preventing processes of radicalisation. The UCARE curriculum consists of 7 consecutive workshops that can be fitted within regular classes and can be delivered by a teacher or an external trainer. The workshops can be extended to more lessons if needed. (This handbook is available in English, Dutch and Spanish.)


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level


Chapter V >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

De-radicalisation and Disengagement >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

5. De-radicalisation and Disengagement

Please visit to watch an introductory video for this chapter.

Early intervention as a strategy for de-radicalisation or disengagement has been used in various spheres, among them health, child wellbeing, education, drugs, and crime. The overarching guiding principle is that when there are high risks, vulnerabilities, or predispositions toward a particular negative condition, consequence, or behaviour, intervening in the early stages of such development can prevent the condition from arising. In respect to radicalisation, the theory states that while there is not a single or linear radicalisation trajectory, it is both possible and necessary to intervene before the individual is radicalised and potentially considering undertaking a violent extremist act. Therefore, interventions can be aimed at a variety of people, from long-term extremists to individuals in the early stages of radicalisation. When considering how interventions work, there are several primary questions that must be addressed: how are the appropriate people identified, and how are risks of and vulnerability to radicalisation assessed and managed? How is the intervention and de-radicalisation process undertaken, and by whom? How is this process monitored and evaluated?


While other places are developing national/local strategies to prevent radicalisation, (see “Practices and tools” section), the United Kingdom (UK) has been taken as an example of a national strategy that integrates local level within its intervention logic. Other practices on de-radicalisation interventions are presented in the “Practices and tools” section.

I. The referral process

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The process of identifying at-risk individuals is the most contentious aspect of intervention policy. Identifying vulnerability to radicalisation is a difficult process. At present, there are a wide variety of opinions regarding the causes of radicalisation and terrorism, whether local or national grievances, ideology, personal circumstances, pathology, or a combination of factors. The UK approach is based on studies that have looked at sample groups of convicted terrorists and developed an elaborate assessment framework for ascertaining “vulnerability factors” that are either causally related to or at least correlate with all of the individuals’ psychologies. The UK Channel Programme28—a service that delivers interventions to individuals deemed vulnerable to radicalisation—uses this framework to determine if an individual is suitable for early intervention. Specifically, these factors are used by a multi-agency “Channel Panel” of relevant mainstream service providers (namely in the realms of education, social services, mental health, and religion) that can administer the holistic support required for a successful intervention. The framework enables the panel to both assess an individual’s risk level and to determine the appropriate risk-reduction strategy to prevent offence or re-offence. Subsequently, this assessment framework is used to determine an individual’s vulnerability to radicalisation and violence. For the duration of the intervention, Channel Panel members monitor and 28- The full counter-terrorism strategy has a component aimed at preventing violent extremism which Channel is one aspect of, see:


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

evaluate the case, all the while continuing to learn about these factors as they relate to the individual case. These factors, which can be found in the statutory guidance, can be broadly understood as falling within three chief categories: engagement, intent to cause harm, and capacity to cause harm.

Engagement Engagement factors are sometimes referred to as “psychological hooks.” These factors include needs, susceptibilities, motivations, and contextual influences, and together map an individual’s pathway to terrorism. By no means an exhaustive list, they can include the following: feelings of grievance and injustice; feeling under threat; a need for identity, meaning, and belonging; a desire for status; a desire for excitement and adventure; a need to dominate and control others; susceptibility to indoctrination; a desire for political or moral change; opportunistic involvement; familial or peer involvement in extremism; being at a transitional time of life; being influenced or controlled by a group; and diagnosis of relevant mental health issues.

Intent to cause harm Not all those who become engaged by a group, cause, or ideology go on to develop the desire or intention to cause harm. For this reason, this dimension of risk assessment is considered separately from the engagement factors. Intent factors underscore the mindset associated with a readiness to use violence, and address the actions an individual is willing to undertake and to what end. These factors can include: over-identification with a group or ideology; ‘us vs. them’ thinking; dehumanisation of the perceived enemy; attitudes that justify offending; harmful means to an end; and harmful objectives.

Capacity to cause harm Similarly, not all those who wish to cause harm on behalf of a group, cause, or ideology are capable of doing so, as plots to cause damage


often take a high level of personal capability, resources, and networking to be successful. An individual’s capacity to cause harm is therefore a key consideration when assessing the risk a given individual realistically poses to the public. These capacity factors can include: individual knowledge, skills, and competencies; access to networks, funding, or equipment; and criminal capability. Police handle the risk assessment and are charged with determining whether an individual is actively involved in a terrorist plot, requiring investigation, or undergoing prosecution for terrorism-related charges prior to enrolment in the programme. If an individual is found to be actively engaged in a terrorist plot, he or she is suitable for the Channel strand of Prevent, one of four pillars of the UK counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. On the other hand, those undergoing prosecution for terrorism-related offences are not eligible for Prevent, and thus fall under the Pursue arm of the strategy. This separation between Prevent and Pursue is vital in that it creates a “Chinese wall� between the investigative component of counterterrorism, requiring intelligence gathering and prosecution, and the intervention and de-radicalisation component. Referrals can be made by frontline staff, individuals within local communities, as well as the wider public. Included among the frontline staff are police, probation officers, prison staff, social workers, social services, and schools, the latter of which is the source of the highest volume of referrals. Precisely because Prevent is an early intervention model like statutory safeguarding, the primary concern is for the individual referred rather than the larger criminal sphere. Consequently, any general staff that interacts with the public is considered to be among the frontline staff. Referrals also come from those convicted under the Terrorism Act and those convicted of extremist-inspired violence under other statutes. The structure of the system demands a number of awareness-raising campaigns with various community-based groups and trainings for frontline staff to ensure that all relevant members of the community are capable of recognising the signs of vulnerability and the early stages of radicalisation.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

II. Structure of the intervention

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> After each referral is made, the case is assessed by the local area Channel Panel. After making an initial assessment of the vulnerability factors, the panel decides whether the involvement of a specialist intervention provider—a mentor, approved by Prevent leaders, charged with reducing the referred individual’s vulnerability to radicalisation or risk of violent offence—is appropriate. Prior to the start of the intervention individuals must give informed consent, acknowledging that they are aware of the nature of the programme and agree to take part in the process voluntarily. Each individual referred through the Prevent programme meets with a relevant community engagement officer, probations officer, schoolteacher, and any additional personnel deemed appropriate over the course of the programme. These meetings between the referred individual and relevant service providers take place in diverse locations depending upon what is deemed most effective. Unsurprisingly, initial encounters result in an array of reactions. While some individuals are initially hostile, others experience feelings of concern and fear, especially since authorities are involved. These concerns are usually allayed. While each case varies in length, the majority lasts anywhere from six to eight months to up to two years until closure. In many instances, cases are mistakenly referred, and thus are closed shortly after the initial assessment. The entirety of the intervention is closely monitored, allowing for consistent updates to the initial vulnerability assessment and an assessment of the intervention provider. Each case is revisited three, and again six, months after closure. This component is critical in that it allows for an accurate evaluation of both the individual and the intervention itself. Monitoring the intervention both during and after the programme allows staff to re-examine initial decisions and the impact of changes in circumstance and situation, as well as whether further


engagement is required. Subjects often form strong relationships with their intervention provider and seek to maintain informal contact for years afterwards.

III. Winning confidence

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The initial engagement seeks to demonstrate clearly to the referred individual that those providing the intervention are primarily concerned with the referred individual’s best interests, and do not have an ulterior agenda. Further, intervention providers use the initial sessions to diagnose any and all potential issues or obstacles. The goals at this stage are, broadly defined, to make an assessment of the individual and win his or her confidence. In the nascent stages of the intervention, the most common causes for concern are the individual’s competency and ability to deal with the issues being addressed. Those actively engaged with extremist content, individuals or organisations, often embrace an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. Additionally, these individuals sometimes express support for individual terrorist acts or groups.

IV. The case of religious extremism: the role of religion

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The nature of intervention work raises a number of tough ethical questions. Are intervention practitioners trying to shape political attitudes and dissent? More fundamentally, is the programme a means for the state to interfere with an individual’s religious proclivities? In fact, much of the political reaction to the intervention programme has centred on whether the process interferes in religious matters or


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

stifles free speech and debate. The first concern deserves consideration, as some counterterrorism measures have historically aimed at reinforcing certain conservative strands of religion. In addition to ethical concerns, these measures have been heavily critiqued in respect to effectiveness, tactical necessity, and the value of such programmes being promoted and funded by states. In respect to the latter, in principle interventions are not aimed at shaping the normative persuasions of an individual’s religious and political beliefs. Rather, the programme uses a neo-Socratic methodology, where the underlying assumptions connected to religious beliefs— claims of religious and jurisprudential or theological authenticity—and political assumptions are challenged in an effort to force the individual to rethink their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour.

V. Disengagement

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Disengagement, however, is not necessarily ideological. Approaches towards disengagement include but are not limited to the following forms of intervention.

Re-alignment of interests and integration This is similar to what has been espoused in certain quarters where an individual can be re-integrated into society where their primary interests, educational, financial and others, can be met fully, thereby resolving the socio-economic root factors and also providing alternative and successful lifestyles in the country where they settle. This has been used specifically for returning foreign fighters, where they sign agreements with local municipalities and construct agreements and development plans. They are provided multi-agency support, and also given psychological assessment and help. This approach has been used in Denmark and is called the Aarhus Model.


Psychological disengagement This approach is used by certain interventionists, not to de-radicalise and change the ideological outlook directly but to remove the underpinning motivations emanating from emotional drivers rather than directly focus on ideas. These drivers once removed would lead to the individual not seeking to undertake violent acts for the sake of their cause and eventually rethink what they are doing and why.

Diversionary tactics Others have taken a more indirect and diversionary approach aimed at merely working to redirect the lives and interests of young people who are neither deeply embedded in an extreme group nor heavily radicalised. In cases where an individual is merely showing some radical tendencies, such an approach can be effective. Initiatives aimed at diverting individuals from extremism without a specific focus on ideology or de-radicalisation often involve sporting or cultural activities.

VI. Recommendations

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Developing strategies and tactics requires a comprehensive analysis of each local area, which includes determining the push pull factors in each area, as well as the local threats and vulnerabilities within a community.

 Engaging a spectrum of agencies as broad as possible – input from health, mental health, youth services, social work and local police information are all key.

 Utilising different approaches tailored to the needs of the individuals being engaged with are fundamental in creating the right service for individuals.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

 Constantly assessing case work and the assumptions underlying it in order to correct early assumptions.

 Monitoring and evaluation is a constant and developing process that needs research and ongoing development.

 Review and external guidance from academic and alternative approaches to de-radicalisation or disengagement practitioners can provide important and good sources of peer-to-peer review and sharing best practice.

Practices and tools

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please visit to consult the following resources:

Practices The Aarhus Model, (Denmark) The city of Aarhus developed in 2007 its strategy for the prevention of radicalisation. Particular interest has been paid to the way deradicalisation programmes have been integrated within this strategy, especially through mentoring interventions. This local strategy is based on a strong cooperation between national and local services.

The Safer Brent Partnership Community Safety Strategy– Preventing Radicalisation, Brent (United Kingdom) The city of Brent is one of many other cities in the UK that run the Channel programme, which is a multi-agency safeguarding board that discusses those deemed most at risk of radicalisation and shares resources and information to jointly plan to reduce the vulnerability of these individuals.


Taking responsibility - Breaking Away from Hate and Violence, Violence Prevention Network (Germany) The Violence Prevention Network has identified a way to address people who have affiliated themselves with anti-democratic structures without humiliating them, thus facilitating their reintegration into the democratic community. This approach is currently used to deradicalise individuals engaged in violent extremist groups (Islamist and far-right movements)

EXIT Sweden (Sweden) EXIT supports individuals who want to leave the Swedish “White Power� environment. The work is adapted to the specific situation and needs of each individual. It primarily focuses on individuals who perceive society as the enemy and motivates them to change their outlook and reconnect with society.

Tools Channel Vulnerability Kingdom)




This framework is used by the UK government Channel programme and has been developed from the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) approach to risk assessment for recidivism into terrorist activities.

Counter Extremism Consultancy, Training, Research and Intervention (CENTRI), (United Kingdom) CENTRI delivers evidence-based counter-extremism solutions through an approach specialised in issues related to Islam, faith, extremism, cultural diversity and integration. These solutions include work on deradicalisation, training of frontlines services, research and policy advice.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

A Guide to Refuting Jihadism – Rashad Ali and Hannah Stuart This guide presents a comprehensive analysis of the ideological and theological arguments put forwardby various Islamist extremist groups and a thorough refutation. It is used for training UK counterterrorism practitioners for the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) at the Home Office.

A Guide to Countering Far-Right Extremism This practical guide for frontline professionals and activists is based on the collective experience of over 120 individuals tackling far-right extremism across 10 countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and the Slovak Republic). RightHANDBOOK.pdf


Chapter VI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Counter-narratives >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

6. Counter-narratives

Please visit to watch an introductory video for this chapter.

Counter-narratives can be understood as content that looks to proactively respond to extremist propaganda. As part of a wider online, and also offline, counter-narrative campaign they can offer an alternative to extremist narratives. They are part of a fully-fledged online response called “counter-speech”. Whilst counter-speech aims to tackle a broad range of issues, from homophobic to gender-based hate speech, counter-narrative campaigns tackle a more specific problem. They are often grassroots-led campaigns tailored to a specific audience, with a particular goal of spreading positive or alternative messages to extremist propaganda in order to increase resilience by offering an alternative or unpacking the truth. This chapter is a brief guide for municipalities looking to learn how they can support counter-narrative production and to understand best practices in counter-narrative campaigning.29

29- The guidelines in this chapter are informed by various counter-narrative campaigns conducted by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), and form the basis of ISD’s “Innovation Labs”, which are designed to help introduce counter-narrative campaigns to youth, activists and NGOs. These Labs are an opportunity to connect the credible voices of activists with experts from across key sectors, such as technology, communications and the arts. Similarly, the role of municipalities is to act as facilitators, encouraging connections between activists and experts and promoting new ideas on countering violent extremism and counter-narrative campaigns.


Municipalities can play a role in facilitating counter-narrative production among NGOs and are often better equipped than national agencies as they understand local contexts. While supporting NGO-led counternarrative campaigns, municipalities should continue to streamline their own strategic communications around radicalisation, violent extremism, or terrorism. This chapter outlines a number of practical ways in which municipalities can support counter-narrative production. There are no strict rules for creating a campaign, but this section outlines: planning and creating a campaign, running a campaign, and dissemination and evaluation. These processes can be supported with the funding and creation of a centralised resource package, including regularly updated “how to” guides on the use of new technologies that can encourage this work.

I. Planning and creating a campaign

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> There are often many layers or themes in the narratives of extremist groups. Focusing on which aspect of that narrative needs to be countered will help produce effective and tailored counter-narrative content. There are four vital components to planning a counter-narrative campaign. These are identifying the right audience, establishing a message, deciding on a medium, and finding the right messenger. Once the audience has been identified it will be easier to create an effective message, choose a medium, and decide on a messenger based on what will resonate with your audience and what they are more likely to engage with. Municipalities can fund the creation of a centralised resource package, including regularly updated ‘how to’ guides on the use of new technologies and social media platforms that can encourage this work.

The audience The first valuable starting point is to understand the specific audience that a campaign aims to reach.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

Before beginning the process of planning a campaign, it is important to establish whether the counter-narrative campaign is going to be tailored for “upstream” individuals (in a preventive capacity) or “downstream” individuals (with an interventionist approach in mind for those more extreme in their views). This will help tailor the content for the right audience and the overall campaign, as it may affect the message, medium, and messenger. Understanding how the chosen target audience acts, both online and offline, will help to decide who they are and how best to reach them. It is important to engage with the audience, if possible, when designing the counter-narrative. Focus groups can be a good way of achieving this. This may only be possible when designing an upstream and preventive campaign as it is not safe or practical to hold a focus group with young extremists. As municipalities are better equipped than national governments to change local contexts and understand the specific local needs, they understand the demographics of their areas, and can facilitate those connections.

The message Once the audience has been established, it is important to think about which stories are most likely to resonate with them. This is the message. At a basic level, the message should speak with the audience, not at them. For example, creating a message that says “extremism is bad” is simplistic, and also does not offer a positive alternative or a well-thought explanation. Messages like this are unlikely to have a strong or lasting impact. The most effective messages do not lecture the audience, but speak with them and elicit strong and emotional reactions or leave them with something to consider.

The medium The medium depends on how the message will be presented (whether video, image, or text). There are few limitations when it comes to choosing this, but there are certain considerations worth thinking about, such as the campaign’s resources and budget, and what content


the target audience is likely to engage with. However, this will also require knowing which online spaces and platforms the target audience enjoys using – a counter-narrative is not just competing with extremist content for the attention of the chosen target audience, but everything else that interests them online.

The messenger There are many ways to make content resonate and be engaging with the target audience. This makes it vital to have a credible messenger to deliver the counter-narrative, so the next stage is to consider who the audience is likely to trust, listen to, and be inspired by. Many counter-narratives use the personal stories of former extremists and survivors of terrorism. Involving former extremists (“formers”) that have “been there, done that” can be a good way of reaching out to a target audience that has already been radicalised or that is exploring extremist content online. They are well-positioned to unravel the undesirable realities of life in an extremist group. Survivors and families can offer an emotional and compelling reminder of the very real impact that violence has on people’s lives, and their testimonies can delegitimise violent extremist acts. Municipalities can refine their engagement with credible messengers, such as formers and victims (families included), and facilitate connections between these messengers and local NGOs.

II. Running a campaign

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> It is important to focus on which platforms are best for each campaign as few will have the need, or the resources, to be on every social media platform or website. Exploring audience behaviour will help to make the decision on how best to reach them. It is important to consider, for example, what times of day the audience is most likely to be online or which social networks are most popular.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

When deciding on how long to run a campaign it is important to think about how the biggest impact can be made on the target audience. Some counter-narratives are responsive to current national or global events. Extremist groups are often quick to manipulate these events to incite grievances in potential recruits. NGOs can be responsive to this, as they are not subjected to the same lengthy procedures and sign-offs that can hold back municipalities, but it is important that this strategy is coordinated between both parties in order to compliment communications. Encouraging an initial response from the audience will depend on their interest in the content and how it is presented, but engaging directly can help. There are a few simple techniques that campaigners can use to increase audience engagement: asking questions, creating lists, being topical, and actively participating in discussions where suitable. If a campaign is being shared on multiple platforms, it is important to be consistent in branding and tone across these platforms and promote links from one to another. Analytics tools that are provided on social media will prove to be useful to understand which kinds of content worked, and what the target audience engaged with the most. Evaluation is important as it can help inform and improve future campaigns.

III. Dissemination and evaluation

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> There are a number of free tactics that a counter-narrative campaign can utilise to gain some traction. This is called “organic” dissemination. Online advertising, or “paid” dissemination, can also be effective for building up an initial following while encouraging the campaign’s audience to grow naturally. Municipalities can make a highly valuable contribution to investing in large-scale research, especially regarding evaluation, to better understand the efficacy of counter-narratives and work to disseminate the results to the most credible messengers in a way that is relevant to their operational needs.


Organic dissemination Organic dissemination can be an effective method to push the campaign’s message and content across to the right target audience. However, while it might be free, it is also time consuming. It is therefore useful for campaigners to consider what influential individuals or other organisations might be helpful to include in an organic dissemination strategy. Municipalities can be useful in facilitating fruitful connections for these NGOs. Approaching influential individuals that are trusted or heralded by the target audience to share the counternarrative campaign will assist in gaining initial traction among the intended target audience, or at least help to push the campaign out to a wider audience.

Paid dissemination Paid dissemination can be effective for building up an initial following and audience and catalyse the machinery for the campaign to grow exponentially. Paid social media advertising is a useful way of reaching the right target audience for the counter-narrative campaign. It can achieve this because of the specific targeting capabilities popular platforms such as YouTube, Twitter or Facebook offer. This is based on an individual’s self-reported information, such as the pages they like or follow and have visited, or the keywords and search terms they input into search engines. For example, if a teenager has searched Xbox in a search engine they are likely to be advertised console games as they are browsing the web – it is not an infringement of privacy. Therefore, if a teenager searches “how to join ISIS” they can be advertised counternarrative content based on their search terms. Thus, paid advertising has the capability of reaching very specific audiences - particularly important for a downstream campaign. It is therefore important to get the targeting criteria right by first understanding the target audience, experimenting, testing, and refining. The options for these criteria vary slightly across platforms but there are many similarities so it is not difficult to adjust accordingly. Municipalities can support and facilitate civil society efforts to design and deliver alternative narrative campaigns via direct funding, in-kind support, and the


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

streamlining of private sector engagement with grass-root civil society networks. It is beneficial for NGOs to be connected with the right support to navigate complicated targeted advertising.

Evaluating campaigns It is important to remember that the aim of a good campaign is not necessarily to reach the most people, but the right people. As such, a successful campaign might not have reached thousands of people immediately – but those it has reached are more likely to be members of the intended target audience. Platforms also have in-built analytics to help campaigners understand how paid advertising has worked on their platforms. Fortunately, many NGOs are now creating counter-narratives and campaigns across ideologies and targeting a range of demographics. However, it is not always obvious what the impact of these campaigns might be. Tracking, measuring and evaluating counter-narrative campaigns can help to build on existing practices in this field. Evaluating the success of a counter-narrative is not always easy and it can be hard to know if a campaign is having the desired effect and whether it achieved its overall goal. If the overall goal of a campaign is to prevent youth from travelling to Syria, then it will be hard to measure demonstrable outcomes. Instead, smaller and more measurable objectives that contribute towards this goal will be easier and more manageable to evaluate. This can be as simple as analysing the kinds of people that are engaging with the counter-narrative content and seeing if it is the same target demographic as was intended, and how they engaged. This can inform future campaigns, content or strategy. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor and evaluate a campaign as best as possible, not only while it is running but also once it has finished. Evaluating in this way and sharing the knowledge gained from a campaign can make a valuable contribution to bettering an understanding of counter-narratives. Municipalities can work to disseminate the results to the most credible messengers in a way that is relevant to their operational needs.


Evaluation criteria and metrics Different platforms offer different targeting capabilities. They also offer different ways of analysing the campaign. There are a vast range of different metrics that can help campaigners understand the effectiveness of their campaigns. Broadly speaking, these metrics can be broken down into three types:

 Awareness: metrics that indicate the number of people reached by a campaign (e.g. impressions, reach or video views) and demographic information (i.e. age, gender, or geographic location) that provides insights as to whether the right audience was reached.

 Engagement: metrics that show to what extent people interacted with counter-narrative campaign content, social media or websites (including video retention rates, numbers or likes, comments, or shares).

 Impact: metrics that help to determine if a campaign was able to make steps to reach its overall goal. Depending on the type of the campaign and its intended audience, this could be evidence of prompting discussions, encouraging critical thinking and sustained online engagements concerning issues of violent extremism. For more downstream or intervention-focused campaigns it could be evidence that the intended audience is reaching out directly for support or advice. Impact metrics are often qualitative, provide very useful insights and should not be disregarded. They may not offer the statistical certainty of reach and engagement figures, but offer the most valuable lens through which to view how an audience reacts to a campaign, and ultimately the impact a campaign has had. Municipalities should bear this in mind when working with NGOs and supporting or facilitating local NGO efforts to design and deliver counternarrative campaigns via direct funding, in-kind support, or streamlining private sector engagement with grass-root civil society networks.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

VI. Recommendations

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Municipalities are better equipped than national governments to change local contexts and understand the specific needs of local NGOs that are seeking to create counter-narratives. They can funnel limited resources with more insight and develop local capacity.

 Municipalities can refine their engagement with credible messengers, such as formers and survivors, and facilitate connections between messengers and local NGOs.

 The role of a municipality can be to build capacity among those best suited to act as counter-narrative messengers and campaigners who often lack the skills and competencies to do this work effectively and at scale, and connect groups doing this work.

 Municipalities could also fund the creation of a centralised resource package, including regularly updated ‘how to’ guides on the use of new technologies and social media platforms for the purpose of countering extremist messages.

 Supporting and facilitating civil society efforts to design and deliver alternative narrative campaigns via direct funding, in-kind support, and the streamlining of private sector engagement with grass-root civil society networks.

 Authorities should make a highly valuable contribution to investing in large-scale research to better understand the efficacy of counternarratives and work to disseminate the results to the most credible messengers in a way that is relevant to their operational needs.

 Offer training to local NGOs based on the principles in this chapter.30  While supporting counter-narrative campaign production, municipalities should also value online communications mechanisms, streamline their own strategic communications, and ensure


30- Based on the Counter-Narrative Toolkit and Handbook published by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue in 2016, see T. Silverman and H. Tuck, The Counter Narrative Handbook, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 2016.

that their messaging complements local NGO-created counternarratives. It is also important that municipalities link their offline work to counter extremism and radicalisation with any online communications activity.

 Beyond facilitating connections with credible messengers, target audiences, and NGOs, municipalities can also make a valuable contribution by investing in research and sharing the results so that those creating campaigns can learn from each other and better understand the field. A large part of this is streamlining private sector engagement with grass-root networks, which is beneficial for navigating targeted advertising and evaluation.

Practices and tools

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please visit to consult the following resources:

Practices EXIT USA (downstream) EXIT USA conducts outreach work dedicated to helping those who want to leave the far-right groups they are associated with. They produced a series of four videos each, shared on social media, and engaged with their audience in a thoughtful and positive manner by frequently replying to the comments and messages on their videos and social media. A number of extremists reached out asking for help as a result of the campaign.

Safeguarding Multi-Agency Approaches Reduces Terrorism (SMART) (upstream) In the UK’s Derbyshire, the Constabulary produced a series of counternarrative videos with the help of Derby College students. The SMART


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

videos have been given Home Office approval and have been available to schools across the UK. Housed on YouTube, they aim to show the risks of radicalisation and the fact that terrorism is not always a matter of faith or religion, and highlights the changes in behaviour that teachers, parents and peers should look out for.

Extreme Dialogue The Extreme Dialogue campaign was launched across Canada in February 2015 with the aim of reducing the appeal of extremist narratives in an upstream capacity. Extreme Dialogue consists of a series of short documentary films accompanied by a set of educational resources intended for use in classrooms or community settings. This campaign could have benefitted from the support of municipalities, encouraging local schools or community centres to incorporate the educational resources into their activities.

Tools Counter-Narrative Toolkit The “Counter-Narrative Toolkit” ( is an educational resource that provides simple, step-by-step guides to help organisations navigate through the stages of creating effective counter-narrative campaigns. The first counter-narrative campaigning guide, the toolkit teaches its users the best practices for planning a campaign, creating great content, and promoting their counter-narratives online to their target audience. Counter-Narrative How To Videos

 What is a counter-narrative? This video outlines what a counternarrative is, and how they can be powerful tools against extremist narratives.

 Creativity in Counter-Narratives: this video teaches the viewer that counter-narratives are about communication, and the importance of using creativity not only in how you present your content, but also in how you find your audience online.


 Counter-Narratives and Social Media: this video explains that the key to using social media to fight back against online extremist narratives is effectively using targeting and metrics.

Counter-Narrative Handbook The handbook was created to help anyone looking to proactively respond to extremist propaganda with counter-narrative campaigns and is intended as a beginner’s guide for those with little or no previous experience of counter-narrative campaigning. It takes readers through the main stages of creating, launching and evaluating an effective counter-narrative campaign. The handbook compliments the teachings of the toolkit.


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

References and bibliography >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Baran Z., Fighting the war of ideas, Foreign Affairs 84: 6, Nov.–Dec. 2005  Belgium’s Federal Public Service Home Affairs, BOUNCEalong, Awareness-raising for Parents and Frontline Workers, 2014, p 15  Borum R. “Radicalization into Violent Extremism II: A Review of Conceptual Models and Empirical Research” in Journal of Strategic Security, no. 4, 2011, p. 37-62  Brantingham P.J. and Faust F.L., “A Conceptual Model of Crime Prevention”, in Crime and Delinquency, July 1976 22, pp. 284-296  Council of Europe, European Charter of Local Self-Government, Strasbourg, 1985  Della Porta D. and LaFree Gary, Guest Editorial: Processes of Radicalization and De-Radicalization, IJCV, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2012  Heinke, D. H., German Jihadists in Syria and Iraq: An Update, ICSR Insight, London, 2016  Hoskins A. and O’Loughlin B., Media and the Myth of Radicalization, Media, War and Conflict Vol. 2(2): pp. 107–110, 2009  Lindekilde L., “Neo-liberal Governing of “Radicals”: Danish Radicalization Prevention Policies and Potential Iatrogenic Effects”, International Journal of Conflict and Violence 6 (1), 2012, pp. 109-122  Khosrokhavar F., Radicalisation, Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, Paris, 2015  Malthaner S., The Radical Milieu, Bielefeld: Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung (IKG), 2010, p. 1


 Malthaner S. and Waldmann P. (Eds.), Radikale Milieus. Das soziale Umfeld terroristischer Gruppen (Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag), 2012  McCauley C. and Moskalenko S., "Mechanisms of Political Radicalization: Pathways Toward Terrorism", Terrorism and Political Violence, 20:3, 2008, p. 416  McCauley C., ‘‘Jujitsu Politics: Terrorism and Response to Terrorism’’ in Paul R. Kimmel and Chris E. Stout, eds., Collateral Damage: The Psychological Consequences of America’s War on Terrorism (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006), pp. 45–65  Moghaddam, F. N., The Staircase to Terrorism: A psychological exploration, American Psychologist 60 (2005): pp. 161–169  Neumann P., “The trouble with radicalization”, in International Affairs, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Volume 89, Issue 4, pp. 873–893, July 2013  Öktem K., Signale aus der Mehrheitsgesellschaft. Auswirkungen der Beschneidungsdebatte und staatlicher Überwachung islamischer Organisationen auf Identitätsbildung und Integration in Deutschland, Oxford, 2013  Ranstorp M., Understanding Violent Radicalisation: Terrorist and Jihadist Movements in Europe, Routledge, New York, 2010, pp. 19-23  Sageman M., Understanding Terror Networks, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), p. 115  Schmid P., Radicalisation, De-Radicalization, Counter-Radicalisation: A Conceptual Discussion and Literature Review, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, 2013, p. 4  Scruton R., The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Political Thought, third edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), 2007  Sherman L.W., “Family Based Crime Prevention” in Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising, Chapter 4, National Institute of Justice, 1998


Preventing and Fighting Radicalisation at the Local Level

 Silber M. D. and Bhatt A., Radicalisation in the West: The Homegrown Threat (New York: Police Department, City of New York, NYPD Intelligence Division), 2007  Silverman T. and Tuck H., The Counter Narrative Handbook, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, 2016  Vermeulen F. and Bovenkerk F, Engaging with Violent Islamic Extremism. Local Policies in Western European Cities, The Hague, 2012




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