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October 4, 2022

Radicalization

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In relation to Violent extremism, and terrorism, radicalization is a dynamic process whereby an individual comes to accept terrorist violence as a possible, perhaps even legitimate, course of action. This may eventually, but not necessarily, lead this person to advocate, act in support of, or to engage in terrorism.(OSCE Secretariat,2014).

Terror groups such as the Alshabaab, and ISIS use Islam as a backing of their radicalization process. They take advantage of the human need to want to connect to a higher being who is God, to fill their ‘spiritual void’. In Islam, God is referred to as “Allah”, hence the chant, “ Allahu akbar”, which translates to God is the greatest. When radicalizing, they make it seem that they are doing good deeds which deem them fit before the eyes of Allah!

Radical online education , a project funded with support from the European Commission  distinguishes three phases of radicalization;

Phase 1, sensitivity to a radical ideology.

Phase 2, an individual becomes a member of a radical group.

Phase 3, this person is ready to act on behalf of the group’s ideology, for example by planning an attack.

In relation to violent extremism in the horn of Africa, the Alshabaab, who have been more active in pertrating attacks, have scaled up radicalization from the use of physical recruitment to the use of online means. They do this through their online presence in social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Telegram and Instagram. This could be in the form of posters, videos or written messaging in ways that are appealing to the eye.

Therefore, it is our duty as a society to stay vigilant, and take note of any suspicious behavior that may elicit communication on radicalization. Both physically in our social circles and online, as anyone is susceptible to violent extremist recruitment.