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Licence to kill

The excitement of jihad attracts bored youths. Governments need to make al Qaeda look dull

By Jamie Bartlett   April 2009

Western governments like “counter-radicalisation” programmes aimed at tempting young people away from extreme Islam. In Britain, dovish types, dominant since 7/7, want to target those who support violent extremism, but in doing so they are willing to ignore—or sometimes even work with—other fairly extreme groups in order to keep Muslims onboard. Government hawks—as Panorama revealed in February—now want a much tougher line, challenging those who challenge democracy. A hawkish new government strategy, called “Contest 2,” will emphasise the need for shared values. But this new approach, although largely positive, is unlikely to work—because it misunderstands why violent extremism is so…

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