1.4.2018 - 31.12.2020
prof.dr. Iztok Prezelj
Citations for bibliographic records:
Violent extremism, radicalization and terrorism have become an increasing problem in contemporary Europe. Trends on the use of terrorist violence show increasing brutality, primacy of civilian targets and victims, connections with military presence in crisis areas, connections with migrations and inter-cultural and inter-religious relations, and broadening of the spectrum of methods (such as, use of suicide terrorists in Europe, simultaneous attacks, use of vans, attacks on concerts, restaurants, media houses…). Radicalization is a complex process of adopting radical views by individuals and social groups about political or social problems, which can eventually lead to the use of extreme violence (terrorism). European countries and relevant international organizations (UN, EU, OSCE and NATO) identified radicalization as a threat to national and international security. Presently, these countries are shaping or reshaping their policies and programs for monitoring radicalization and de-radicalization. Slovenia has relatively few experience with terrorism on its territory, yet it has had witnessed some forms of radicalization, but at a much lower level than many of comparable European countries (e.g. problem of foreign fighters).
The purpose of this project is to help Slovenia develop its policy and program of multi-dimensional and multi-institutional systematic monitoring of radicalization processes that might lead into use of violence and help creating a networked governmental and non-governmental structures for de-radicalization of vulnerable groups and individuals. This project is focusing on all forms of potential radicalization, such as Islamic, right wing, left wing, secessionist and single issue. The project will achieve the following goals:
1. Creation of conceptual and terminological ground for studying and monitoring radicalization and measures against it. Terminological clarity needs to be established in Slovenia before the official concept and policy of monitoring radicalization and de-radicalization are created. It is of great importance to clarify the relations among violent extremism, radicalization, social polarization and terrorism.
2. Analysis of violent radicalization processes in Slovenia, which includes the following sub-goals:
- Analysis and assessment of selected foreign approaches to monitoring of radicalization.
- Identification and short description of cases of violent radicalization in Slovenia based on media records and report of the parliamentary Investigation commission on radicalization in Slovenia (where two members of the project group cooperated as expert witnesses).
- Identification of social groups vulnerable to violent radicalization (for example youth groups, religious groups, ethnic groups, immigrants, second generation of immigrants, asylum seekers, sports fan groups, etc.).
- Workshops with focus groups: holders of security information on the existing radicalization in Slovenia (police, civilian and defence intelligence services), advisers of the Employment Service of Slovenia, representatives of the Sector for Execution of Penal Sanctions in RS, social advisers in public schools, head of the former parliamentary Investigation commission on radicalization in Slovenia, etc.
- Quantitative analysis: opinion polls on susceptibility to radicalization on the sample of students of the University of Maribor and University of Ljubljana.
3. Creation of spectrum of indicators for early detection of violent radicalization with the following sub-goals:
- Definition of early warning process/system in the field of radicalization.
- Analysis of selected foreign concepts and practical cases of indicator-based radicalization monitoring. Special attention will be drawn also to indicators related to the “lone wolf” cases.
- Creation of the MODEL of mezzo- and micro-level indicators for identification of violent radicalization, including description of indicators and their mutual relations, creation of the graphical image of the model, etc. The model will be adopted to the Slovenian local circumstances and responsive to pan-European trans-border processes.
4. Creation of a comprehensive MODEL for multi-institutional response to radicalization in Slovenia:
- Identification of a broad spectrum of governmental and non-governmental institutions that (potentially) play a role in monitoring of radicalization and/or fight against it. This includes interviews with all these institutions and description of their actual or potential role, including related legal basis.
- Creation of the inter-institutional or inter-organizational concept or model of cooperation in the fight against radicalization, including its structural and graphical design, description of the mechanism for recognition of good practices, etc.
It is important to stress the inter-disciplinarity of the project research group, involving researchers from two universities (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences and University of Maribor, Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security). Members of this group participate in the management board of the national RAN platform (Radicalization Awareness Network), cooperate with the broad spectrum of national institutions, dealing with terrorism and radicalization monitoring, participate in international scientific and professional associations (such as European Expert Network on Terrorism - EENeT), two members have helped the parliamentary Investigation committee on radicalization in RS, etc. This project will represent the first comprehensive scientific overview of the pressing problem of radicalization in Slovenia. It will spread awareness about it among the actors and entire society, and create a conceptual basis for creating policy and program of de-radicalization in Slovenia.
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