Radicalisation and violent extremism
Radicalisation happens when a person's thinking and behaviour become significantly different from how most members of their society and community view social issues and participate politically. Only small numbers of people radicalise and they can be from a diverse range of ethnic, national, political and religious groups.
As a person radicalises, they may begin to seek to change significantly the nature of society and government. However, if someone decides that using fear, terror or violence is justified to achieve ideological, political or social change—this is violent extremism.
This is not the same as someone just expressing their point of view. Everyone has the right to express their beliefs and group interests openly. However, it becomes a concern to everybody, including families, communities and law enforcement, if a person begins to advocate or use violence to achieve a political, religious or ideological goal.
Those who radicalise and display threatening behaviour, incite hatred or promote the use of violence for their cause require some form of intervention. This may come from family, religious or community leaders, or law enforcement
This short film centres around Humza’s cousin being drawn towards extremism and how Humza attempts to protect him from the dangers of radicalisation. The film explores why it’s important for you to get information from the right sources and safeguard yourself from negative influences.
What signs do you need to look out for?
Below are some signs to look out for if you think a friend or classmate is being radicalised.
- Identity Crisis – A friend may begin to become distant from the cultural/religious heritage and uncomfortable with their place in the world around them. You may start to see changes in the way they dress and talk about issues.
- Personal Crisis – You may start to notice friends or classmates acting differently. They may talk about family tensions, their sense of isolation, low self esteem. They could stop communicating with existing friends and become involved with a new and different group of friends. They could start searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging.
- Personal Circumstances – You may also notice changes in the personal circumstances of your friends - this could include, migration; local community tensions; events affecting country or region of origin; alienation from UK values; having a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy.
- Unmet Aspirations – Friends may also show and express feelings of injustice, failure and rejection of 'normal' life.
- Criminality – Friends may be particularly vulnerable to radicalisation if they are involved in criminal behaviour, with criminal groups, have been in prison or have trouble re-adjusting to life after being in prison.
What should I do?
If you suspect a friend may be at risk of being radicalised, you should first speak to a teacher, a relative, friend or social worker, as the local police will be able to support them through the PREVENT programme.
If you think a friend may be in immediate danger call the Police now on 999.
Last updated: 09 May 2023