"Supporting and empowering families to combat radicalisation"
Why would a young person be drawn towards extremist ideologies?
Young people, including those who are often otherwise well-behaved, high achievers at school, can be drawn towards extremism in similar ways as those who are persuaded to expose themselves to other risks, such as joining gangs and online grooming. Radicalisation happens both online and in person.
Recruiters will hide their true intentions and may spend a long time gaining a young person's trust. This may be achieved through the young person:
• searching for answers to questions about their identity, wanting to belong or to deepen their faith.
• maybe feeling isolated, lonely and searching to connect with somebody who understands them.
• being driven by the desire for ‘adventure’ and excitement or a sense of belonging.
• being driven by a need to feel better in themselves and promote their ‘street cred’.
• being drawn to a group or an individual who can offer them a sense of identity,
a social network and who seem to offer them support. Young people who already have contacts, such as friends or family who are already involved in extremism may be especially vulnerable.
• Having personal experiences of racism or discrimination that fuel a sense of grievance, or being influenced by world events which result in them needing to feel they want to make a change or difference in the world.
Most people do not go all the way to becoming violent extremists. Something or someone might intervene during the radicalisation process, or interrupt it altogether. That way the person does not get to the point of threatening or using violence, and may eventually reject their radical ideas. The active involvement of families, friends and the community in this process is very important.