Violent Youth Radicalisation: Perspectives and Solutions

Welcome to this Special Issue on the Internet Journal of Restorative Justice on the topic of Violent Youth Radicalisation. This is a very timely issue that looks at a current pressing societal challenge that is truly global in its existence but very local in the way it plays out in various geographical, social and political contexts.

Terrorism and extremism are undoubtedly among the biggest problems the world is facing today and is leaving in its wake a trail of death and destruction where the human and social costs are perhaps more significant than wars fought between countries on the world stage. These realities breed suspicion, hatred and feelings of revenge and invariably result in a spiral of violence that seemingly has no end. Not only is there a need to explore the various factors leading to violent youth radicalisation, it is clear that young people need to be considered not as victims ‘at risk’ but rather as responsible agents of positive change.

This issue focuses on violent youth radicalisation in the context of a major EU-funded project spearheaded by the Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS) Institute titled ‘The Youth Empowerment and Innovation Project (YEIP)’, which looked at the problem of violent youth radicalisation across seven European Countries. The project sought to propose a uniquely different way of combatting violent youth radicalisation by proposing an alternative to punitive means so often favoured by governments. That alternative proposed was to use Positive psychology and the Good Lives model to intervene with young people at risk of violent radicalisation focusing on positive identity and well-being on the premise that young people who had a positive view of themselves would be less likely to be drawn into violent radicalisation.

The first paper in this issue shares the methodology and results of this ground-breaking youth-led project looking at violent youth radicalisation in Europe.

The second paper discusses the findings of the YEIP project in the context of Cyprus and demonstrates young people’s perceptions on preventing radicalisation such as increasing radicalization awareness, fostering spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding, and promoting dialogue to counter radical views.

The third paper provides an overall analysis of violent youth radicalisation globally. The author draws on personal and professional experiences to situate the problem of violent radicalisation as a truly international issue that affects people across countries, across ethnic groups and across social status. The paper looks at relational causes of radicalisation and the emotional “hook” that radicalisation holds.

In the fourth paper, there is a focus on the rise of violent radicalisation in Lebanon and Lebanese-Syrian border. This has resulted in incarceration of juveniles in detention centres and the high risk of the juveniles being consolidated in their extremist views while in detention.
The paper offers a critical analysis on the Countering Violent Extremism programme which looked at push and pull factors in trying to help radicalised juveniles to reintegrate in society.

The fifth paper uses a descriptive approach to to analyse the growth of violent youth radicalisation in Nigeria with a particular emphasis on particular groups that might be more vulnerable to violent radicalisation fuelled by socio economic structures where poverty and inequality is rampant. The paper offers solutions that tap into developing the positive in the available human capital to counter extremist agenda.

Finally, the sixth paper examines ISIS activities in India and the growth of violent youth radicalisation among Indian youth.. The author articulates key recommendations to prevent and counter violent youth radicalisation by ISIS handlers.

We hope this issue encourages a comprehensive approach to the problem of violent youth radicalisation while proposing creative, positive and youth-led alternatives to combatting radicalisation that are not punitive in their essence but centered on principles of restorative justice.

 

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