Strengthening Resilience to Agents of Radicalization

The Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV) in Montreal published a new radicalization prevention guide titled ‘Strengthening Our Resilience to Agents of Radicalization and Their Rhetoric.’

According to this guide, an agent of radicalization is:

“… a person who uses extremist rhetoric to attract individuals with different degrees of vulnerability and who may exhibit feelings of victimization or rejection, identity malaise, or certain personal or social vulnerabilities.”

In response to the questions such individuals may have about their place in society, agents of radicalization offer a simplistic, black-and-white worldview that portrays certain beliefs as irreconcilable and diametrically opposed to one another. As a result, the agents rhetoric encourages listeners to progressively adopt an extremist logic incompatible with the principles of social togetherness, generating the sorts of rifts that lay the groundwork for the process of radicalization leading to violence.

Agents of radicalization, whether in the real or the virtual world (i.e. over the Internet), seek to manipulate the thoughts and legitimate perceptions of people in order to further a particular set of ideological concerns or a political agenda. Little by little, they get their audience to draw direct connections between tragedies or personal situations and broader social, economic, cultural or identity issues.”

Agents of radicalization play various roles and exist across the ideological spectrum. The guide notes that agents of radicalization may not directly incite audiences to engage in violent action, but “through their rhetoric they help create an insurmountable gulf between certain individuals and the rest of society which may, under certain conditions, lead to violent radicalization.”

Check out more prevention tools and guides from CPRLV here.