Family is a conduit of culture and belief and thus can play a critical role in shaping attitudes toward non- violence, counter terrorism and radicalization. In today’s world, parents are faced with the challenge of explaining violence, terrorism, and war to children. Although difficult, these conversations are extremely important. Parental influence is particularly important since parents get the opportunity to help their children understand the world they live in. If a parent has a strong impact on a child’s decision making, they also have a big impact in preventing radicalization and violence.
As the first line of defense, mothers play a vital role in the family since they would easily identify, predict and respond to children’s vulnerabilities to violence. Women can be used to offer meaningful counter-narratives, by highlighting the hardships that may be imposed on a recruit’s own family in case he/she joins terrorists groups. Due to this, the voice of women needs to be amplified. This should be done through empowering and educating women, more so mothers since they can easily identify any changes that may lead children to commit a crime.
At times, family members can also be part of the problem, especially when the parent-child relationship does not exist or is difficult. In such circumstances, a credible community figure, who has the respect of the concerned individual, could provide that supportive role and the necessary intervention.
In conclusion, there is need to move beyond the traditional focus that only young men and women are radicalized and recruited to join terrorism, and embrace the act that family is a potential site of radicalization and recruitment as a whole. Let’s work together from the domestic level and engage the young children, and upcoming youth in matters and initiatives of CVE by educating them and including them in the fight against radicalization and terrorism. Every individual has a role to play.