The prevention of radicalization leading to violence as well as of hate crimes and incidents, throughout the province of Quebec is crucial to the economic development of the province.
Since Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada. Many of the young men and women who live here feel increasingly marginalized economically, socially, and politically and are particularly vulnerable as they are often in transitional stages in their lives, whether as immigrants, students in search of friends, job seekers, etc. They are in need of an outlet to vent their frustration, and consequently, they become easy prey for extremists seeking new recruits.
However, there is a common denominator behind most of the causes that radicalize Muslim youth, which is the lack of integration into their new social milieu, caused by:
- Lack of interest in being integrated, as many young Muslims are living in a bubble where they feel comfortable and secure and are not encouraged to step out beyond their immediate circle of peers and family. This is further compounded in situations where extremism runs deep in a particular family, or where they have certain gripes against the sociopolitical milieu in which they live.
- A deeper, growing sense of alienation, which is the antithesis to feelings of inclusion, leading young adults in particular to find ways to resist and defy rather than seek new opportunities to integrate and become loyal nationals of their adopted countries.
SAWAC helps reintegrate into society those who are alienated from the society or had been radicalized by involving various stakeholders, such as education, health and social services, and public safety. The planned approach is a grass-root approach combined with mental health professionals to raise awareness, and analyze the real root causes in different communities.
- Enhancing communication and understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities and to strengthen Muslim institutions that will mitigate social and political conflict.
- Promoting social reintegration of radicalized individuals by Introducing integration procedures in which they develop personal interests to fill the social, economic, and political emptiness they feel.
- Invite credible and respected speakers to discredit the messages of the extremists and supporting community-led initiatives by moderate Muslims that deter individuals from radicalizing in the first place.
- Provide opportunities to show off their talent and ability to excel, while supporting those who seek to establish their social identity and be recognized.
- Empowering them to be active participants, these Muslims are best positioned to counter radical narratives and enable them to be the country’s first line of defense against homegrown terrorism.
- Providing tools and support to family members, teachers, professionals and members of the community to promote community development and awareness activities for promoting social reintegration of radicalized individuals and helping them thrive in a healthy social environment.
Signs of Radicalization:
- Gradual withdrawal by the individual in question.
- Contact with radical or extremist individuals or networks, either online or in real life.
- Breaking with or distancing from friends and family.
- Abrupt or unexplained loss of interest in professional or school activities, or recurrent absenteeism.
- Repeated expression of feelings of victimization, identity stigmatization, or persecution.
- Strong preoccupation with conspiracy theories pertaining to institutions and authorities.
- Virulent attacks on certain groups or individuals based on their origin, skin-color, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.
- Hateful (xenophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-Muslim, misogynist, etc.) discourse that leaves no room for dialogue.
- Legitimization of violence designed to promote the victory of a cause, ideology, or militant platform.
- Sudden interest in weapons.
BY ADOPTING AN ATTENTIVE AND COMPASSIONATE ATTITUDE, EACH OF US CAN MAKE A PROFOUND CONTRIBUTION TO THE SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITIES WHILE HELPING SAFEGUARD THE PROMISE OF TOGETHERNESS IN QUEBEC SOCIETY