27. June 2011
SAVE Sisters participate in a meeting of 90 former extremists and victims in Dublin to address questions of youth radicalization
During the last few weeks, tensions in Northern Ireland have flared up, manifesting themselves in violent riots. These events show that despite the peace process, Northern Ireland continues to be troubled by sectarian violence.
At this critical time, a group of 90 former members of violent and extremist groups have gathered south of the border in Dublin for the Google Ideas Summit Against Violent Extremism. The Summit is supported by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Tribeca Film Festival, and aims to address questions such as “Why does a 13-year old boy in a tough neighborhood in South Central LA join a gang? Why does a high school student in a quiet, Midwestern American town sign on neo-Nazis who preach white supremacy? Why does a young woman in the Middle East abandon her family and future and become a suicide bomber?”
Addressing the factors that lead to youth radicalization and identifying the early-warning signals are key to countering terrorism. The Summit brings together former extremists from various cultural contexts, including the IRA, Islamist organizations and former gang members, to address the issue of how young people’s legitimate frustrations and aspirations can be exploited by a wide range of extremists. The event aims to establish a global network of former extremists who can pool resources and ideas to tackle extremism together in the future. Uniquely, the panels of former extremists will be moderated by victims of terrorist attacks.
As an expert on women’s potential to counter violent ideologies, Dr. Edit Schlaffer will lead a Google Ideas workshop within the framework of the conference. Dr. Schlaffer will ensure that the often overlooked perspectives of women are included in the discussion, and will highlight the role that mothers can play in identifying signs of radicalization in youth.
SAVE has also brought SAVE Sisters Robi Damelin from Israel and Aicha el-Wafi from Morocco to the Summit. Robi lost her son David when he was shot by a Palestinian sniper during his service in the Israeli Defence Forces. She now works for a peaceful solution reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian victims of the conflict.
Aicha’s son Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted of conspiring with the 9/11 hijackers, and is serving a prison sentence in the USA. She now travels the world with Phyllis Rodriguez who lost her son in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, to highlight the possibility of reconciliation between mothers. Aicha will speak on a panel with Noman Benotman, a senior analyst at Quilliam and former jihadist.
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