Rehabilitating extremists 'not impossible,' but requires change of approach, Maajid Nawaz insists

29 May 2021, 14:37

By Seán Hickey

Maajid Nawaz believes a 'holistic, full spectrum approach' to deradicalising convicted terrorists should be adopted in the wake of the Fishmongers' Hall inquiry.

Maajid Nawaz stressed that services attempting to rehabilitate former terrorists or religious extremists do not effectively address the difference in psychology of a normal criminal and an extremist.

His comments came as an inquiry into the Fishmongers' Hall stabbings in 2019 suggest a failure of security services was at the heart of the attack.

Maajid argued that although the inquiry is correct, the method of rehabilitation of extremists – which Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones worked in – is flawed.

"When we deal with these types of people that we don't just approach this from a criminologists perspective, thinking these are like convicted criminals," he said.

Read More: Terrorists like Fishmongers' Hall killer 'beyond rehabilitation', intelligence expert claims

Maajid argued that a more "holistic, full spectrum approach" is necessary when trying to deradicalise convicts, which includes "care on a human level by people who understand what that cosmic struggle and believing it entails."

He refuted the notion that rehabilitation is impossible when dealing with convicted terrorists and extremists, admitting that while "it is incredibly hard to do," that doesn't mean it's impossible.

"There is always value in attempting to rehabilitate people," Maajid concluded, echoing his call for more considered and specific services to convicted terrorists.