Dubai: Security officials around the world
need more grass-roots strategies to understand the
"radicalization process" and win over extremists with
brains-over-brawn outreach such as moderate clerics, said a
report at an Interpol gathering in Qatar.
The paper, compiled by former counterterrorism experts
from agencies including the CIA and FBI, urges authorities to
expand traditional intelligence and investigation work to
include programs that directly challenge the ideology of
groups such as al Qaeda and other factions.
Such efforts are not new. Countries such as Saudi Arabia,
Yemen and Indonesia use various methods to try to sway the
views of Islamic extremists. The US military also tried to win
over captured insurgents in Iraq.
But the study by the Qatar International Academy of
Security Studies, a Doha-based think tank, concluded that
security agencies generally are falling short. It urged
officials to dedicate more resources toward undermining the
recruitment efforts of extremist groups and persuading jailed
radicals to reject violence once they are freed.
"Many countries have barely begun to think about these
issues," said the report, presented at Interpol`s general
assembly in Qatar that include representatives from the US
State Department and Pentagon.
The 56-page document urged a more comprehensive approach
by security forces, including identifying radical "hot spots"
and using moderate clerics and counselors in prisons to try to
temper the views of jailed militants.
It also noted that anti-terror "watch lists" can keep
former detainees from rejoining society because of
restrictions such as blocks on opening bank accounts.
"Often overlooked is the value of understanding the
radicalization process at a local level, not just why people
become engaged in violent extremism but also how," said the
report. "Capture and detention are just tools; they are not