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The Challenge of Youth Extremism and Radicalization in Canada

Although much of Canada’s post 9/11 public counter-terrorism efforts have focused on preventing, detecting, disrupting, and responding to Islamist extremists, domestic fringe groups who use or advocate violence represent a serious domestic threat in Canada in terms of both their actual commission of and future capacity to commit acts of political violence. Given the recent Boston Marathon bombing, the reports of three young men from Ontario participating in the Al Qaeda affiliated siege of a gas refinery plant in Algeria in January 2013, and the convictions of some members of the ‘Toronto 18’, there are growing concerns among parents, teachers, and community members that extremists are successfully radicalizing youth in our schools and prisons, through familial and peer relationships, and online. While there are several common strategies and tactics used to radicalize young people, there does not appear to be a single profile or pathway to extremism or violence, but rather a combination of political and religious factors, such as nationalism and religious obligation, and personal and emotional motivations. For example, the three London, Ontario youth are described as being middle-class, well educated, and well integrated, yet coming from highly diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. This makes predicting and preventing violent extremism challenging. Prevention is further complicated by a distrust of law enforcement by some racialized communities who feel racially profiled and stigmatized since 9/11. However, having a better understanding of youth who engage in variously inspired ideological forms of non-violent and violent extremism will assist in identifying risk and protective factors to better inform, design, and implement prevention and intervention efforts. Dr. Irwin Cohen and Dr. Hayli Millar School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of the Fraser Valley


The remainder of this newsletter contains various resources and events through the Centre and in the broader community to promote the positive development of children and youth.

Centre's Resources The Centre has a growing list of fact sheets on topics related to youth justice, relationship, safety, substance use, and problem gambling. Click this link if you are interested in viewing any of this information. Also consider whether your community has an emerging issue or topic that they would like to learn more about in order to promote the wellbeing of children and youth. Call 1-888-224-SAFE [7233] to discuss how we might be able to help.

Get Youth and Children on the Political Agenda! Download a toolkit to support individuals and community groups to advance legislation, policy, and practice to benefit children and youth in the lead up to the May 2013 provincial election. Click here for Elections Toolkit. See what the BC Society for Children and Youth is doing to promote elections decision-making for promoting the well-being of children and youth in BC by clicking here.


2013 at the Edge Conference in St. John's This conference brings together people and organizations involved in educating youth who recognize that in every act of violence and injustice there is a message that needs to be understood. Click here for further information Visit our website for a regularly updated listing of conferences and workshops!

Summer Course - Child Rights The University of Moncton in New Brunswick is holding a summer course on the rights of the child. This eight day course will include an "in-depth discussion and dialogue to explore, learn, and share knowledge and understanding of children's rights and well-being." Follow this link for more information and to register.

Free Teacher Resource! An award-winning ERAC certified curriculum-based resource is available for free on the subjects of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, discrimination, and hatred towards Asians, Japanese, First Nations, LGBTQ youth, and more. Curricular, posters, DVD, and ordering information can be found at: www.chooseyourvoice.ca


Special Dates May is Mental Health Month Teacher Appreciation Week – 1st week of May May 25 - International Day of Families May 16-20 - International Homophobia Week May 18 - International Day Against Homophobia May 18 - Safe Kids Awareness Day May 21-24 - Aboriginal Awareness Week June is National Aboriginal History Month June 21 - National Aboriginal Day

Community Research Partnerships Organizations and individuals are invited to contact the UFV Centre for Safe Schools and Communities to discuss how we can assist your research and program goals using evidence-informed strategies and policies. You can visit our website for contact information or call 604-870-5474.

Contact us If you have an event or publication in support of the goal of promoting safe, healthy, and inclusive schools and communities, please call 604504-7441 x4222 or forward your correspondence to safeschoolscommunities@ufv.ca. To view upcoming conferences or workshops visit our website.


April 2013 newsletter