Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Blog

By Isaac Levey
AAI Summer Legal Fellow

The New America Foundation, in collaboration with the Muslim Public Affairs Council, held a panel discussion Tuesday entitled “Online Radicalization: Myths and Realities.” The discussion was aimed at covering important, but often overlooked, questions about how online radicalization relates to the threat of homegrown violent extremism in the United States, and how it can be combated. The panel discussion, which is available to watch below, explored these questions and then took questions from the audience.

All the panelists agreed on the need for a “counter-narrative” to respond to hateful, extremist speech online, much of which is aimed at convincing young Muslims (usually young men) that America is at war with Islam, and that it is the duty of Muslims to kill westerners in defense of other Muslims. This requires a response on a global, policy-based scale – such as by pointing out that most victims of these violent terrorist attacks are Muslims – but also on an individual level. Radia Chaudry is a New America Foundation Fellow and the founder of the Safe Nation Collaborative, an organization designed to “provide strategic cultural competency trainings to law enforcement, foster dialogue and cooperative relationships between American Muslim communities and the national security apparatus.” She pointed out that, like many risks that affect young people, online radicalization is an issue that can be helped by attentive parents. Parents need to ensure that if their teenage (or young adult) child wants to talk about issues of religion and politics, the child has someone in the community, such as an imam or other community leader, who can discuss those issues and be a positive force in the child’s life. Otherwise, Chaudry warns, the child will be more likely to get information from extremist websites. In short, countering violent extremism is a problem that needs to be attacked both on a macro, policy-based, and a micro, individual-based, level.

For more detailed information about the panel guests, and to watch the video of the informative and thought-provoking discussion, click the link above.

Video streaming by Ustream

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