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Combating radicalization

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Queen's University psychologist Wagdy Loza is available to comment on radicalization and efforts to prevent criminal acts by radicalized individuals before they occur. Earlier this week, terrorism-related charges were filed against Ayanle Hassan Ali in the attack on a Toronto Canadian Armed Forces recruiting centre in March. This morning, CBC featured the story of a Toronto couple who have experienced difficulty finding help for their son, who appears to have been radicalized by white supremacist groups. 

"Unless the terrorist related ideologies are thoroughly understood by the majority of the world’s populations, terrorism-related ideologies and attacks will continue," says Dr. Loza. "As this type of terrorism cannot be defeated either by military or by law and order means alone,  it is crucial that counter-recruitment/prevention programs be developed and utilized proactively."

Dr. Loza says that efforts should be made to "innoculate" at-risk youth to the strategies of recruiters, in part by exposing them to and and challenging extreme ideologies in a controlled environment (such as in classrooms as part of a curriculum) as well as educating parents and youth about common recruitment strategies. He says it is important to note that religiously-based programs historically do not work in combating radicalization, and that religious leaders may have difficulty disputing some of the ideologies promoted by extremists/terrorists. 

Dr. Wagdy Loza is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Queen's University. He served as the Chair of the section on Extremism/Terrorism of the Canadian Psychological association and is currently a member of the Ontario Review Board. Dr. Loza is involved in research about radicalization and completing risk/need assessments for incarcerated offenders. 

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