Is deradicalization the answer in fight against terrorism?

Round them up and lock them up before they hurt us?


Or try to convince them through rehabilitation that trying to kill their fellow Canadians in the name of Islam is not the way to go?

Prior to the repugnant mass slaughter of 22 innocent people at a pop concert in Manchester by a radical Islamic provocateur, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about this so-called dilemma when Montreal Police discovered ISIS sympathizers working at the airport named after his father.

“I think that’s part of the kind of conversations we have to have as a society,” Trudeau said. “Keeping people safe is paramount important, but defending our rights and freedoms is, as well — and making sure we do that in the right way.”

What is the right way? What should that conversation be?

Trudeau’s government has $35 million invested in the deradicalization approach. Recently, the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence received a $500,000 grant.

“We are a non-profit organization,” Anamaría Cardona tells me from Montreal.

She directed me to executive director Herman Deparice-Okomba’s statement on their website to offer some perspective.

“Violent radicalization is a troubling phenomenon,” he wrote. “It is a serious social issue that poses a threat to our personal safety and our ability to live together peacefully as a pluralistic society.”

He says “all acts of radical violence, no matter how dramatic they may or may not be, erode public confidence and destroy our collective ties” but “innovative, comprehensive, and sustainable solutions are essential to ensure all members of society are able to play an active role in our communal efforts to fight and prevent such acts.”

He doesn’t mention jail.

Instead, he talks of working “in partnership with community workers and organizations” developing “specialized expertise and (sharing) its knowledge and practical know-how; and monitors social changes linked to radicalization.”

There is so much more to know about this, such as how many people are participating in this program, how many graduated and if there are people from Toronto involved.

One thing I did notice on the website was no mention of Islamist radicalization.

Under “types of radicalization” there are categories: Right-wing extremism, politico-religious extremism, left-wing extremism, single-issue extremism.

There’s talk of animal rights and environmental radicalism but on religious and political it says “a form of radicalization associated with a political interpretation of religion and the defence, by violent means, of a religious identity perceived to be under attack via international conflicts, foreign policy, social debates, etc.” and that “any religion may spawn this type of violent radicalization.”

Time will tell if this deradicalization centre will have success, but after what happened in Manchester, it would be better to call out the actual threat by name.

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