Building More Effective Responses to the FTF Threat

Date 28 September 2015
Location USA

On 28 September 2015, Hedayah, International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ), International Centre for Counter-terrorism (ICCT) and the Global Center on Cooperative Security convened a meeting on “Building More Effective Responses to the FTF Threat: Addressing Prevention, Prosecution and Reintegration Challenges” on the margins of the 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, USA.

The purpose of the meeting is to address the current challenges in the prevention, prosecution and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF), additionally the meeting sought to develop a coherent and cohesive approach in tackling the threat.

H.E. Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, Hedayah Chairman, Mr. Robert Strang, IIJ Executive Secretary, and other distinguished representatives from the governments of Malta, UAE, UK, US and the Netherlands shared their countries’ insights and experiences from various perspectives, such as a humanitarian crisis in migration or as a complex threat to a countries’ national security. The representatives also identified the gaps that currently exist in the global approach to counter and prevent the increase of FTF.
The meeting then focused on two areas: “Preventing Radicalization”, during the first panel in which Mr. Ivo Veenkamp, Deputy Executive Director of Hedayah, and other international experts discussed the importance and means to prevent radicalization. Secondly, Mr. Patrick Lynch, Director of Training and Capacity Building along with other panelists continued the discussion on “Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Prosecution of FTFs” in the second panel.
The key highlights of the experts’ discussions include:
  1. the need to reach individuals early in their progression into violent extremism before the stage of prosecution,
  2. identification of the push (such as an individuals’ lack of identity, alienation and political motives) and pull (such as the persuasion of family, peers, friends) factors,
  3. prevention of prisons from becoming breeding grounds for extremist ideology,
  4. the importance of the role families, communities and education play in preventing radicalization,
  5. the use of social media as a global marketing tool for violent extremist groups and its influence in the radicalization of youth.
The meeting concluded with remarks from Mr. Maqsoud Kruse, Hedayah Executive Director, where he emphasized the evolving and changing threat of violent extremist groups and that no one country is entirely immune. There was also a shared appeal among the participants for less talk and more action in addressing the FTF threat.