By Miller J. Wilson
One of the best ways to fight Jihad is to prevent the radicalization of people. If you have read any of the RAND reports then you will know that Jihadists are pretty much self- recruited after they have become radicalized.
The way this happens is when a person or group is isolated from the main stream of society. This isolation leads to feelings of despair, loss of control, and anger towards the main stream society. When this happens the individual or group begins looking for a cause that they can be apart of that they feel is bigger than them. Once they find the cause they become fanatics in order to prove their “true” belief surround themselves with people and information that justifies their fanaticism. Once they are surrounded by only one view they lose the diverse social reference which keeps unsocial behavior in check in place of a single social reference that encourages unsocial behavior. Without having social peers to tell them that certain ideas and beliefs are unacceptable they grow in their fanaticism which in turn isolates them further from main stream society and into a vicious cycle of growing radicalization and social isolation.
So how does that information help us to prevent radicalization? The answer is that we must make great effort to help people assimilate into the main stream culture in a way that they do not feel that they are giving up their culture. One of the reasons Europe is having problems with radical Muslims is that they are failing to assimilate these groups into their society. The US is facing a similar problem with both legal and illegal aliens from Mexico and South America as well as a growing Muslim population. Both these groups isolate themselves from the main stream culture of the US and concentrate into neighborhoods where they are the majority. They seldom socialize with people from outside these neighborhoods and so have their social reference limited to that neighborhoods ideas and lacking the mainstream US social reference. By taking the lead and having a group socialize with an individual that individual will gain the main stream social reference of the US and the feeling of isolation will be lessened which in turn will aid in assimilation. One of the ways in which this can be done is to ask questions about the other culture and answer questions about your culture. This aids in the assimilation process further by educating the person about US culture without them feeling like they have to give up their culture.
In the end radicalization will still exist either because some people come here after being radicalized in their own country and other reasons but we can limit the number of people being radicalized. By limiting the number of people being radicalized we limit the number of potential threats and increase the number of productive people in the US. This prevents an increase in potential attacks which makes our lives safer. Because of this it is vital to the entire US population and our culture that we do everything we can to lessen the isolation of people and aid their assimilation into US society. After all “an ounce of preventions is worth more than a pound of cure.”
Miller J. Wilson is currently an AMU student working on his BA in Intelligence Operations. In addition he is a volunteer for his local Medical Reserve Corps and Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT).