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December 3, 2020

Community resilience in the fight against terrorism

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Community resilience offers a remedy for countering violent extremism and radicalisation. This approach leads to understanding the individual motivations of those who chose to take the pathway. The approach focuses its attention on community resilience and other non-military and legal methods to deal with threats of terrorism and radicalisation. Communities have knowledge of all undertakings and possess some sort of “hidden” power and influence over activities in their settings. This power can be through community dialogues to address grievances and counter violent extremism.

Traditional approaches to counter violent extremism may have a better longer lasting impact on communities instead of using force and legal approaches. These traditional approaches have a sense of ownership and acceptance within the communities because they require active participation and involvement in decision making and problem solving. Violent extremist groups target children, family members, and neighbours so as to get new recruits and support.

In countering violent extremism, communities are an important weapon as they are better positioned to confront the threats of extremism and radicalisation. They understand the challenges and construct appropriate approaches for rising problems. Community resilience reduces vulnerabilities in the communities through civic education, inter-faith talks, community building and development. It offers a cheaper solution to counter violent extremism and increase community cooperation to address problems. Everyone has an important role in the community and these ascribed roles can be used to encompass counter violent extremism narratives. This will mean that counter violent extremism will be part of a community’s culture and practice.

When everyone in the community is aware of the dangers of violent extremism, community culture and practices will be shaped to discourage any form of extremism and promote coexistence and tolerance. Interventions will promote de-radicalisation, counter violent extremism projects and development programs for community empowerment and development. This will mean communities will be able to work together to withstand and respond to the threats and challenges they face.

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