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Liesbeth van der Heide on Dutch NPO Radio 1 on recognising and preventing radicalisation

There is a lot of unrest in the Western Sahel at the moment as a result of growing Jihadism and terrorist attacks. Stability and security in the region are falling apart making room for growing radicalisation. But what do you need to look out for in order to be able to recognise radicalisation and what is that enables radicalisation to grow?

Liesbeth van der Heide, Education and Research Staff Member at Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs travelled in Mali to give a week-long training to young Malians to keep them from joining terrorist movements or groups. Learning to recognise disinformation was an important part of the training.  ‘Most news in Mali is shared on social media. During this training young Malians learned to separate factual news from non-factual news.’

Van der Heide also visited prisons during her stay in Mali, where she gave trainings to prison staff and conducted research by interviewing radical prisoners. The aim of the research project is to ascertain why these prisoners got involved in terrorism. ‘I had thought long and hard about our approach. I had my doubts to begin with  because these prisoners had no reason whatsoever to be willing to tell me their story. But funnily enough, they were all eager to participate. Our main goal was to find out why these people did what they did and how they got involved in terrorism.’

You can listen to the entire item (in Dutch) on the NPO Radio 1 website.

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