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Nottingham connected

Faith & Spirituality

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influential roles may radicalise young, impressionable minds, they may also serve as valuable mentors and roles models to assist young people as they navigate periods of uncertainty.

decisions would ensure that counter-radicalisation programmes offer real alternatives to young women. Countering violent extremism requires a more nuanced understanding of gender Studies have shown that belonging to extremist organisations provides young people with ‘a sense of identity, prestige or pride, acceptance, responsibility and outlets for frustration and excitement.’ Western countries, particularly, see many stories of welleducated girls from affluent families who are intercepted while travelling to Syria, either as ISIS fighters or brides. Based on media reports, such cases are on the increase – particularly in the United States and United Kingdom. Given that terrorism is a global problem and the Internet is borderless, there is an urgent need for concerted regional and international responses and cooperation in dealing with this trend. The role that educators and learning institutions play in radicalising young people, including women, also needs further investigation. Clerics and other important religious figures may influence the choices of young people. Research suggests that apart from friends, such figures are the most likely to introduce young people to such groups as al-Shabaab (in the case of Kenya). In the March al-Shabaab attack at Garissa University that saw 142 students killed, the alleged mastermind, a former madrassa teacher, is believed to have been radicalised while in high school. In another incident, where two Kenyan women students informed families that they had travelled to Syria, one was a part-time teacher at a local girls’ high school. This points to a need for stronger scrutiny of educators and school curricula, including programmes and activities in places of learning and worship. While those in

It is clear that countering violent extremism and radicalisation requires a more nuanced understanding of gender as well as the factors driving young people to join such groups. The policies of governments – and the range of services that they provide to young people, including young women, their families and communities – are significant factors within this framework. These require ongoing enquiry and significant development if they are to have any success in curbing these worrying trends. Platforms such as the recent civil-society-led forum on gender dimensions of terrorism and counter-terrorism in Kenya; and the ongoing government-led regional conference on youth counter-radicalisation, are meaningful steps in this regard. Irene Ndungu, Researcher, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Nairobi. Article originally published by the ISS African Centre for Peace and Security Training at https://goo.gl/zD0Nyn

Mojatu Nottingham Magazine M017  

When faced by social and cultural practices that disempower and hinder us from leading happy and fulfilled lives, most people feel overwhelm...

Mojatu Nottingham Magazine M017  

When faced by social and cultural practices that disempower and hinder us from leading happy and fulfilled lives, most people feel overwhelm...

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