“Education is the power terrorists fear most.”

-Malala Yousafzai

The terrorism itself is a modern disease of our societies. It is everywhere and nowhere, it is everyone’s and noone’s. The terrorist and nowadays extremists are the executive force of the terrorism as a strategy of anti-system fighters. They are mobilized, ideologized and totally manipulated because that is the only way they can be used and misused in the theatre of horror. For those individuals that are involved in the practice of terrorism, we often use the term :radicalization. But, there is an opposite process too and that is the big interest for counter terrorism experts and professionals to fight for. That is so called deradicalization process.


The levels of recruitment of extremists is known for years back, especially when it comes to the islamic radicalization. It seems that young extremists and fanatics  that are opinionated by the fanatical and militant circles of the Islam are those that are the weakest chain in the societies they are picked up from. Mostly, they are poor young people that can not integrate or they are feeling refused by the system because of the lack of demanding attributes for being fully accepted. Some are denied because of the absence of requested education or good family background. Others are simply annihilated by the cruel society rules of competitions. The radicalization is the answer on their prayers, the chance that they will  finally become powerful and revengeful.  That is exactly what is calculated by masters of Islamic terrorism, to inject  the beasts with the steroids of hatred and condemn.

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The ladder of  terrorist activity goes up with every single step one makes towards the destruction and demolition. There are layers of the importance in the terrorism world. The lowest are those who are beginners in the evil. They are fresh and they need to be educated to be  operational and enough good for the highest goals. After some time, they will be sacrificed for the ideals they failed to understand. It is interesting that the radicalization process in the abused Islamic religion always starts with the professionally deluded imams that seek for  the weak prey. The radical imams are not the essential part of Islam and the whole religion must not be linked with the extreme individuals that propose hatred instead of love. They know where they will preach and how. They are specially educated for brainwashing in the religious concept. They know how to handle the young or unsatisfied people and they know the price of the good sold psychology of resistance. Those recruiters are head and soul hunters and the radicalization process is ensured by them. The more people they get in, that is the higher their role in the whole architecture of planned terror.


But, what is the deradicalization then and how it could be a benefit to the counter terrorism efforts? Deradicalization is everything what radicalization is not, and even more. It is a cure and salvation, it is a last attempt for society to give oxygen to the person that is dying.

The experts from the National Security Research Division of the RAND corporation made one case study regarding the deradicalization of Islamic extremists. In that study they admit that deradicalization is not an easy task for counter terrorism professional to force on the object of that strategy- radical militant himself. It is started with Disengagement which means a change in behaviour and possibly withdrawing from a radical organizations but not necessarily a change in beliefs:”A person could exit a radical organization and refrain from violence but nevertheless retain a radical worldview. Deradicalization is the process of changing an individual’s belief system, rejecting the extremist ideology, and embracing mainstream values.Deradicalization, in fact, may be particularly difficult for Islamist extremists because they are motivated by an ideology that is rooted in a major world religion. The tenets of the ideology, therefore, are regarded as religious obligations.When enough ex militants renounce radical Islamism, the ideology and the organizations that adhere to it are fatally discredited. Even short of this tipping point, as greater numbers of militants renounce extremism, radical Islamist organizations will experience greater hurdles in attracting adherents and sympathizers within the Muslim community”


For the deradicalization it is more than important who is the object of this process and how far away the radicalization has gone. This is the same as with the cancer disease. You can operate and amputate some organ but you are never sure if some cells are still free somewhere and ready to multiply the evil seed again. There are light cases and those individuals are diagnosed on time. Usually, the family has a clue what is happening and then start the fight for their member back into the nest. That means that potential extremist is still not disordered and blinded with the cult rules and obligations so he can be cured. Then, there is a price of staying in the group or leaving it. It is dangerous for new radicals to leave the group when they are enough informed what is it about. The architects of the terrorism project know that they must be careful because the intelligence service has also its own ways to infiltrate in the group and to catch the network for the state purposes of counter terrorism campaign. It is nothing for a terrorist group to punish the betrayers with the death. We are already aware that apostasy in Islam, in spite of the fact that is not obligated to be punished by death in  Holy Book of Qur’an, is decided to be punished by death by those who believe they understand Islam more than Prophet Muhammad s.a.v.s.

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So, that further means that radicals that refuse to implement the orders from the core of the power will be punished in the worst way,  before their deradicalization process began. This doesn’t apply only on the radical islamic terrorist organizations but also on the criminal gangs. There is no such a chance for a mafia to release someone without making sure he won’t say a word to the authorities. The mute will never speak out. The dead will be forever dead.

The social support is crucial in this meaning. Without it, we can not count on the final rehabilitation at all. If we take out the radical and try to save him, we must ensure that he will be out of surrounding with radical orientations and that they will have an option to find himself in the society as a newborn person with the new perspective. This is almost like a dream and costs a lot of money. Taxpayers money indeed. Then, we must make sure that our rehabilitation mouse will be ready to participate as a successful example in the future projects of counter jihadists strategies. The ex-terrorists and militants are the best teachers of the things we want to deliver to the youth as a targeted population.  A former British Islamist militant, Usama Hasan explains why is that so essential for the society and system:“I think I’m listened to by the young because I have street cred from having spent time in a [jihadist] training camp. . . . Jihadist experience is especially important for young kids because otherwise they tend to think he is just a sell-out who is a lot of talk.” When Mr. Usama Hasan makes a lecture, the people will listen. He was there and has done that. His story is not just a good learnt lesson but the real, lifelong experience, with blood and flesh.


This policy is very expensive because it mobilizes the all levels of the state. It must be covered by professionals and must be lead by those who believe that will be beneficial for the determined goal. And, above all, it must be financed and justified through the effective costs. In last 10 years, many developed countries have established those deradicalization programs as the basic measure against the militant islamists:“According to the government of Saudi Arabia’s deradicalization program has succeeded in rehabilitating 80 percent of the militants targeted. Moreover, only 5 percent of the freed Saudi detainees have been rearrested.1 Similarly, as of June 2008, the U.S.-run Iraqi deradicalization program claims that, of the 10,000 prisoners released, only 33 committed further offenses.2 Although Singapore’s deradicalization program is much smaller than the Saudi or Iraqi program, Singapore’s government maintains that only one of the 40 former radical Islamists who have been freed has been detained again.3 Taken at face value, these data suggest that prison-based programs aiming to reform militant Islamists are extremely successful and that other states should employ similar methods to combat radicals.”

The main question is who will be enough skilled to work on the deradicalization process and what will be the right modus operandi against the future radicalization? The one who is an expert for deradicalization of the Islamic extremists must be the one who is very familiar with the Islam religion and abused ideology. That professional must be ready to correct the first brainwashing with the second  brainwashing but in the positive way. Injected ideology must be replaced with the teaching about the bad sides of the radicalization and the promises about the possibility to have a new and good life. Once when our subject fails to accept that promised life, away from radicalization core, it could be a real possibility he will go back and start all over again.

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Personally, I believe in the deradicalization of Islamic extremists and not only that rehabilitation helps but it must be done as the primary demand of our urban and modern society that insists on the human rights. At the end of the day, failure is not the worst scenario. The worst scenario is not fight back with the same weapons.


  1. What a nice concept ! Thank you, Sarah, for this enlightening article!

    This goes back to one of my prior comments regarding this subject, which is the idea that society has to, somehow, provide a better life through better opportunities for those young people before they even become radicalized ! In other words, prevention is better than cure !

    However, as some of those people have already become radicalized, then the solution is what you, Sarah, have discussed herein, namely, deradicalization !

    Therefore, in order to solve this ongoing problem, the above two components have to be achieved, namely, prevention and cure !

    In closing, I would like to say that it would be a very small price, for all of us as citizens, to pay a little more in taxes in order to implement the above solutions. After all, aren’t peace of mind and our lives worth it ?!

    Thank you so much, Sarah, for your research and coverage !


  2. An exceptionally excellent article. Thank you, Sarah, for such an insightful article. It clearly presented the issue and its cure from the roots.
    Success starts with a dream, and naturally we are all dreamers. Realities of today, including negative ones were the dreams of yesterday. Let us all hold on to such great and positive dream, because one day our dream may just come true. As you mentioned in your article, the deradicalization process is not an easy task, but is not impossible too, and if coupled with wise security and intelligence measures, it will bring so much peace and security to all societies around the world.


  3. Sarah’s provocative and relative article articulates the conspicuous need for the rehabilitation of extremist Muslims, and provides examples of how this is being approached by certain governments. However, the militant aspect of Islam cannot be dissolved without the accompanying rehabilitation of the First World governments that gave rise to Islamic extremism for their own commercial agendas. In particular, the US-government has been directly involved in manifesting grass roots militancy among what became Muslim extremists, from the 1970s onwards. This serving as the post-Soviet pretext for endless warfare (i.e. highly lucrative pursuit of elites associated with the fossil fuel industry and weapons manufacturing that sponsor the US-government…).

    In 1979, after graduating from university, Osama bin Laden (1957-2011) went to Pakistan in order to assist the Mujahideen there in their struggle against the Soviet military. The front for funding was construction companies in his native Saudi Arabia. Under the umbrella of the CIA’s Operation Cyclone (1979-89), the US-government and that of Saudi Arabia provided US$40 billion worth of financial aid and weapons to assist 100,000 plus Mujahideen, via Pakistan’s intelligence service. The CIA executive officers knew this would create a worldwide network of weapons smugglers among Muslims, and furnish the US-government with a possible pretext for post-Soviet warfare, given that The Soviet Union would be dissolved. The US-government had already had experience in manipulating militant Arabs in Lebanon’s civil war (1975-90).

    Osama bin Laden’s inherited family fortune paid for air tickets and accommodation, paid for paperwork with Pakistani authorities and provided other such services for the jihadi fighters in Afghanistan (Taliban representatives met with US-President in The Oval Office in 1983). Osama bin Laden established camps inside Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan and trained volunteers from across the Muslim world to fight against the Soviet-backed regime. The CIA desired a guerrilla militancy that could easily be manipulated, after the fall of the Soviets.

    In the late-1980s, then Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto (a Muslim), concerned about the growing strength of the Islamist militant movement, told US-President George Bush Snr ‘You are creating a Frankenstein…’

    Some of the CIA’s Afghan beneficiaries were militant commanders such as Haqqani and Hekmatyar who were key allies of Osama bin Laden over many years. Haqqani received direct cash payments from CIA agents, without the mediation of the Pakistani intelligence service. This independent source of funding gave Haqqani disproportionate influence over the mujahideen. Haqqani and his network played an important role in the formation and growth of al Qaeda, with Jalalhuddin Haqqani allowing Osama bin Laden to train Mujahideen volunteers in Haqqani territory and build extensive infrastructure there. They were doing exactly what the CIA hierarchy expected them to do.

    Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (an associate of Osama bin Laden’s) was given his US-visas to enter The United States of America on four separate occasions by the CIA. Rahman was recruiting Arab Muslims to fight in the Soviet-Afghan war, and Egyptian officials testified that the CIA actively assisted him. Rahman was a co-plotter of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

    One allegation not denied by the US-government is that the US-Army enlisted and trained a former Egyptian soldier named Ali Mohamed, and that it knew Ali took trips to Afghanistan, where he claimed to fight Russians. According to journalist Lawrence Wright who interviewed US-officials about Ali, the Egyptian did tell his Army superiors he was fighting in Afghanistan, but did not tell them he was training Afghan Muslims or writing a manual from what he had learned from the US-Army Special Forces. Lawrence Wright reported that the CIA failed to inform other US-agencies that it had learned Ali (who was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad) was a double agent being set up by the CIA.

    So, in cohesion with viable approaches to rehabilitating Muslim militants/extremists, there needs to be pressure applied (e.g. via The Hague) upon those First World governments that sponsor Islamic terrorist organizations. The situation has to be defused for First World citizens to feel safe. However, this will not occur, because of how lucrative it is for First World governments and their commercial overlords to invest in sustaining the terrorism… Who owns what and why? This concerns the major petroleum corporations, the largest weapons manufacturing corporations and the associated industries (e.g. high technology).

    Meanwhile, the innocent suffer…

    Liked by 2 people

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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !