Monday, May 09, 2016

PARIS RECKONING - Anti-Radicalization Conference

"Relatives of Western jihadist fighters go public, hoping to stop others" PBS NewsHour 5/3/2016


SUMMARY:  Relatives of fighters who joined the Islamic State militants and other groups came together at an anti-radicalization conference in Paris with hopes of reaching a turning point in the fight against extremism.  Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  While we’re reporting on that war-torn country, for months, we have reported on Western-born young people who travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.

Parents and relatives of some of the young European men who’d joined ISIS and other extremist groups met late last week at a conference in Paris.  Among the group were also family members of victims of the terrorist attacks last fall in Paris.  They gathered to grieve, to condemn terrorism and the extremism that drives it, and look for ways to prevent other young people from following the fates of their loved ones.

From Paris, special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

MALCOLM BRABANT (NewsHour):  This is the Bataclan club, where Islamist gunmen slaughtered 89 concert-goers last November the 13th.

It was, briefly, a place of pilgrimage for a group of people inextricably linked to the massacre through the ideology embraced by their relatives, even though they didn’t participate in the attack.

Karolina Dam, mother of 18-year-old Lukas, a boy with learning difficulties, converted and radicalized in Denmark and believed killed in an airstrike on the Syrian Turkish border.  Janne Mortensen (ph), also from Denmark, whose convert foster son, Kenneth, was killed in Syria three years ago.

Briton Michael Evans, whose brother Thomas converted and joined Al-Shabaab in Africa.  This footage shows the jihadist with the nom de guerre Abdul Hakim just before he was killed in a battle with Kenyan troops.

MICHAEL EVANS, Brother of Killed Foreign Fighter:  It’s just such a tragic waste of life.  You know, people out just enjoying their night were cut down for nothing.  It’s so sad to be here.  I don’t understand how someone who is my own flesh and blood could be — could think like this.  I just don’t understand.

MALCOLM BRABANT:  Canadian Christianne Boudreau wants deradicalization programs to make the most of the experiences of families like these, by using them as educators, helpers, and guides.

She’s campaigning in memory of her convert son Damian killed in fighting near Aleppo in Syria.
BJORN IHLER, Utoya Survivor:  All forms of extremism are very similar in many ways.  Extremism thrives on the same kind of factors regardless of what ideology is titled.  And at the end of the day, their ideology very quickly becomes just an excuse, essentially, for being violent.

The issues we need to address are not necessarily the theological issues, but rather the ideological issue of violence and how violence is being used for political means.

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