The session comprised four presentations which tackled interesting matters.
In the introductory part, Jasmeet Sahotay put forward his definition of violent extremism , a concept which he explains as a belief that violence is an appropriate means to achieve a deeply desired ideological, religious or political end.
In what followed, he addressed a couple of questions, whose answers are still unclear : Is violent extremism something carried out by non-state actors? Does violent extremism always have to be ideological- can it be criminal or even purposeless ? Is the term “extremism” relative? Where do we draw the line between radical and extreme?
During his presentation, he clearly delimited between radicalism and radicalisation and offered a comprehensive understanding of extremism , namely that of a political ideology which opposes a society’s core values and principles such as democracy and universal human rights. He concluded with the elements of radicalisation : political, gradual process, engaging in accepting violent extremism , undemocratic means, undemocratic goal.
The second presentation focused on exposing some of the most important projects undertaken by Romania, in order to prevent and detect when a person is about to get radicalised.
Mrs. Cristina Ivan, who is the Head of the Security Studies Department at the National Institute for Intelligence Studies, put forward one of such project entitled SAFFRON , which is a European project, co-founded by the
Internal Security Fund of the EU, whose aim is to build a system able to support early detection of extremist foreign fighters. The system will function on sending automated alerts.
She summed up her presentation with a video from Heart of Darkness site.
Rafael Silva invited us all to think about the roots of and the motivations of the people who have become violent extremists. His point was that if you engage purely from a security approach, you still marginalise others.
He argued further that transnational cooperation is a sine qua non-condition for any successful counter- organised group and that intelligence sharing is less important than the sharing of intelligence preventive solutions.
Internet, in his view, represents one of the danger of radicalisation. He always raised an interesting question : How much one is willing to give up at the cost of being safe?
His presentation reached the conclusion that the more citizens experience their human rights being infringed upon, the less they will put trust in authorities and look elsewhere for justice! Rafael emphasized the underlined statement, as the one that may be one of the causes towards radicalisation.