Radicalisation is amongst the most salient issues in the UK. High profile media cases are a constant reminder that it’s at the forefront of the media and political agenda. Also apparent in debates around this issue is that it directly affects ME communities and, in particular, ME young people, with far less attention given to other forms of extremism.

ME young people are growing up against a backdrop of continual news coverage of their peers being radicalised and a media that often vilifies them. Each new news cycle brings updates on the number of young British citizens who have fled to join Daesh (around 700 according to recent estimates) and reports of teens being arrested for terror-related offences. Owing to the similarities in the grooming process, we should view radicalisation through the prism of child protection, as we do with CSE. 

Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism; Extremism is defined as a vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths; And Terrorism is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people, causes serious damage to property or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system which is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public for the advancement of a political, religious or ideological cause. 

Self-radicalisation is the process whereby an individual arrives at a decision to follow an extremist path on their own. They don’t need anyone to persuade them. Typically, this process will involve researching a cause on the internet. 

Mediated Journey is where the vulnerable victim is nurtured and persuaded, often starting at a distance with activity in internet forums, chat rooms, etc. and eventually reaching a point where they are willing to act on behalf of the manipulator. Some have likened this process to grooming children and young people for sexual abuse. 

There are instances where a group of individuals come together and eventually reach an agreement over what course of action to take. If there is no natural leader controlling the path, people tend to spiral towards a point of view, perhaps starting off with different thoughts/opinions, but through discussion they will eventually arrive at a point where they agree and conspire. 

Sometimes a group will come together and there is a charismatic leader who guides the others, moulding them to his/her viewpoint. 

Any young person can be a victim of ‘GROOMING’. It can happen to boys as well as girls. It can happen to young people of all races and backgrounds. 

We are developing an exciting new initiative which will see us bring forward, support and encourage young ethnic leaders to play an increased and increasing role in society, to act as ambassadors and provide a counter narrative shaping a positive dialogue on radicalisation amongst those directly affected.