De-radicalization Can It Be Done?


HRT Correspondent – Adam Craddock

12 March 2016

It Is Less So Than Even US De-radicalization Programs Can Be Effective Concerning Radical Islam

Executive Summary:

It is less so than even US de-radicalization programs effectively aid arrested terrorists and radicals prone to violence. Some states took initiative into these programs, but no concrete federal system exists. The United States corrections system requires great reform towards rehabilitation. The focus of such programs on the Muslim community and the racial bias against Muslims builds apprehension towards participation. America’s western culture and unfamiliarity of Muslim culture makes establishing an effective program difficult.


The United States prison system holds more incarcerated individuals per capita than any other country along with a poor focus on rehabilitation which many other countries advocate.[i] A strong rehabilitation focus in the US criminal justice system acts as the first step towards creating rehabilitation programs for at risk, radicals, terrorists and criminals.[ii]

Figure, above – The ineffectiveness of the corrections system shows that imprisonment does not necessarily suggest reformation of the criminal. Source:   

The most abundant and arguably most effective de-radicalization programs for those that participate in radical Islamic terrorism lies in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Iraq utilize imams, Muslim clerics, to aid in the process as well as regular religious study.[iii] Religion tends to act as the breakthrough with a lot of these programs.[iv]

The US must take into consideration the difference between cultures affecting the success of the program. Concerning Muslim populations from other cultures, this may or may not be the case depending on the situation.[v]

Finally, the automatic focus of these programs on Muslim communities of Middle Eastern origin in the United States evidently creates a bias and seeds distrust among the communities.[vi] The bias being that those of Middle Eastern origins radicalize the most often. Since 9/11, prejudice and in some cases; blatant racism blur the United States’ mindset when dealing with radical Islam.[vii]

Until recently, no de-radicalization programs for suspected “Jihadists” existed at the federal level. A program implemented by a federal judge in Minneapolis, Minnesota for four suspected individuals, utilizes a German expert on radicalization studies, Daniel Koehler, from the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies (GIRDS). The use of the four Islamic State-affiliated individuals will hopefully aid in developing the program.[viii]

Analytical Confidence

Analytic confidence for this product is moderate. The analyst corroborated his sources and used high-reliability sources. The analyst worked alone on this product with minimal consultation. The analyst’s expertise is minimal and the complexity is moderately complex. Time constraints brought no issues.

[i] (Reliability: Moderate)

[ii] (Reliability: High)

[iii] (Reliability: High)

[iv] (Reliability: High)

[v] (De-radicalization Programs and Counterterrorism: A Perspective on the

Challenges and Benefits By Lindsay Clutterbuck PhD) (Reliability: High)

[vi] (De-radicalization Programs and Counterterrorism: A Perspective on the

Challenges and Benefits By Lindsay Clutterbuck PhD) (Reliability: High)

[vii] (De-radicalization Programs and Counterterrorism: A Perspective on the

Challenges and Benefits By Lindsay Clutterbuck PhD) (Reliability: High)

[viii] (Reliability: High)

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