This blog was written by Giada during the YEIP fieldwork focused on collecting opinions on youth radicalisation. (Italy – Feb-Jun, 2018)

Nowadays, when we talk about social problems that are notably increasing, especially at a youth level, we can undoubtedly deal with radicalization and extremism. European cities have been overwhelmed in recent years, becoming the scene of violent attacks and dramatic outcomes.
Radicalization is a process that leads an individual or a group of people to behave violently by pursuing a particular extreme ideology, which may be political, religious or social.

Very often it happens that this phenomenon is connected to social dynamics of exclusion, of religious or cultural conflicts, also represented as a fight between western and eastern countries, therefore also to forms of racism.
Feelings experienced in this condition range from humiliation, frustration and sense of deprivation for a future that is no longer believed to be feasible.

A typical example is ISIS. In fact this radical group is united by a great religious ideology that represents an extremism of the practice of the Muslim religion. So ISIS is also a form of extremism, therefore a violent and illegal act carried out by individuals very often linked to religious ideologies which are distorted to justify their work.
In fact, these acts often aim to hit the fundamental values of democratic societies to affirm those of extremist and radicalized ideology instead.
In recent years it has been talked long of the most effective methods to fight against these phenomena.
First of all has emerged the ineffectiveness, actually, of the restrictive measures in the juridical field, which are not sufficient for the purpose.

Secondly the hypothesis of an involvement of local authorities, which should have a predominant role in this battle, was analysed, because they are closer to the social fabric where the problem can begin to develop.
It is certainly very difficult to describe and analyze the root causes of radicalization, but it is undeniable that its symptoms occur at the local level, where it is therefore necessary to act.

Interventions at local level must therefore be aimed at increasing the resilience of individuals and groups, providing concrete and even psychosocial support to families, as well as opening the way for new forms of dialogue, obviously aimed at preventing crime and radicalization.
All this should also be stimulated by a great work to raise the awareness of the community and the social environment, thanks also to the use of mass-media that today represent the easiest means of communication to the masses.
Awareness-raising should also be implemented at school level with intercultural programs and with education in critical thinking, but respectful of diversity, citizenship, tolerance and social cohesion.

In the most serious cases it is necessary to subject the individual to programs against radicalisation or social reintegration where previous radicalized subjects can also be included. They could actively participate telling their own experience and being even more credible in refuting possible arguments.

I also believe that prevention must also be based on a careful employment policy, because a decent work is the first step towards the social integration of all individuals.

Giada, 16 years

Note: Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the authors

Cover picture: Olivia Collier, retrieved from https://unsplash.com