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How does one become radicalized ? Can we reverse the process, develop a program and teach it in schools and communities ?

One of the things you notice whenever we have some of these violence and terrorist attacks is the shock family and friends express when the perpetrators are identified. You often hear friends and family say the suspects seemed normal, friendly and doesn't have any atom of violence in them. Then as more and more information begins to come to light, the language shifts to when, where and how the individual was radicalized..So i want us to discuss how the process begins...Is there any sign or signs the society, family and friends usually miss as one become radicalized...

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    • May 2 2013: I agree with this 100%. In the case of the Ted Kaczynski and the Unabombing case, he was an outcast and an outsider, and was angry and industrialized civilization for overtaking nature. You don't need to be radicalized by religion to take out your anger in a violent fashion. If we can prevent people from becoming outcasts and recluses and to become more productive and participatory members of society, we can help divert these individuals from becoming self-radicalized terrorists.
  • May 3 2013: Radicalization will always be possible in a free society.

    Preventing radicalization seems like a good idea today, but it is basically mind control. The founding fathers of the USA were radicals. Most people in the USA believe that freedom is worth dying for; that is a radical idea. Changing society in any big way is radical. The next big, POSITIVE, change will certainly be considered radical. Be careful what you wish for; you might get it.
  • May 2 2013: Do people still read Hoffer's The True Believer?
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    May 2 2013: In one of Greg Mortenson's books, Stones into Schools, he argues that if secular schools are provided for kids in Central Asia, families there will have an alternative to schools that preach hatred of other ethnic groups, countries, or religions.This seems one intervention that might help, then.

    If you are talking about those accused in the Boston Marathon bombings, If reports are correct that the accused were radicalized only recently and others in their family potentially also, it is unlikely you can blame this situation on their schooling in Kazakstan (until they were ten and seventeen respectively) or on their private schooling in the United States from then until age 18.
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      May 2 2013: Fritzie, you are absolutely right. Providing secular schools will help. But at the same time, I believe that leaders of various religious institutions are more highly placed to deal with this issue of radicalization. Schools can design a social study courses that challenge some of the prevalent assumptions about religion, people and culture in the society.

      Contact reduces prejudice, assumptions and misconceptions. If early on, children from different religious background are brought together, it might help. If non-governmental agencies and offcourse the government can work together to initiate and sponsor interfaith events. That too might help.
  • May 2 2013: yes i bet there is a lot of things missing in their life and only way to know what they are is to ask them. Or to know every act in their childhood and how they react to it. People can be insane or "radicalized " and nobody ever notice it serial killers are a good example there are many cases of them acting completely normal around other but in the depths of their mind they were not in any way.