To fight radicalism, de-glamorise al-Qaeda and laugh about it, report suggests

The British think tank Demos has published a report on radical Islam, the bottom line of which is that it can be defeated by making it boring or ridiculous. The report, entitled “The Edge of Violence: A Radical Approach to Extremism”, examined the differences between violent radicals and non-violent radicals, finding that violent radicals had a poor understanding of Islam, compared with non-violent radical followers, and had more in common with football hooligans.

The study also found the “cool factor” was the biggest draw to al-Qaeda and that terrorism could be defeated by demystifying and deglamorizing jihad. Satire could be used to undermine any “cool” image and governments should channel radical Muslims’ rebellious tendencies into activities like overseas volunteering.

Demos interviewed 200 people – experts, young Muslims and 58 violent radicals in the UK, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and France.

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