“In psychology we call this ‘cognitive openings,’ when you peel away your old ideas and you’re in a fragile frame of mind; you’re looking for some guidance and leadership.”
Lorne Dawson (pictured left) is co-director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society and a professor of sociology at University of Waterloo. His research on why some new religions become violent set the stage for a new and primary research interest in terrorism, particularly the process of radicalization in homegrown terrorist groups.
Dawson told the Ottawa Citizen, “In just reading the literature about terrorism in case studies, I was struck over and over again about the tremendous similarities to my years of talking to people in new religious movements.” Dawson says that 10 to 15 per cent of the people who are engaging in terrorist acts by radical Muslim groups are converts and that every major terrorist plot we can think of involves a couple of converts.
There’s no simple profile of who becomes radicalized to the point of taking up arms, but Lorne Dawson says research shows there is “still an extremely strong role for local inspirational leaders and figures” — friends, peers, mentors. “Very few people radicalize online exclusively,” said Dawson. “It takes face to face interaction.” — The Hamilton Spectator (Feb. 28, 2015)
The Conservative government’s Bill C51 — which does not contain any new money or a strategy for de-radicalizing youth — now moves to committee against a backdrop of new terror threats. Lorne Dawson and Daniel Hiebert, co-directors of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society, have appeared at recent Senate hearings, urging the Conservative government to renew funding for independent research into counter-terrorism. [source: Cambridge Times]
We speak with professor Lorne Dawson.
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— People First Radio (@peoplefirstrad) March 8, 2015