How are people radicalised and how is it prevented?

4 February 2020, 17:28

This defence expert explains how people are becoming radicalised and what can be done to identify and prevent radicalised people from acting.

Islamist terrorists go out on the streets with a "god defined right in their mind" and because they have a strong ideological basis, it is the ideology that "needs to be tackled in order for them to be allowed back onto the streets", said Alan Mendoza, chief of defence think-tank, The Henry Jackson Society.

Instead of tackling terrorists at the end of the process it is much more beneficial to catch susceptible people at the start of the radicalisation process and talking them round, he said.

The first port of call is the local communities within which potentially radicalised people might live, Mr Mendoza said, and cited examples of Muslim communities that have provided evidence to the local police.

Tom surmised that this has to rely on "people shopping their mates", to which Mr Mendoza said, "how else are you going to do it? We have to have a system of early warning."

Alan Mendoza questioned why nobody picked up on the behaviour of Sunday's Streatham attacker
Alan Mendoza questioned why nobody picked up on the behaviour of Sunday's Streatham attacker, Sudesh Amman. Picture: PA

Mr Mendoza confirmed that a lot of radicalisation is occurring online and identifying this is "far beyond the capabilities of anyone", however you can still pick up on behaviour that stems from online radicalisation.

He said that Sunday's Streatham attacker, Sudesh Amman, was clearly radicalised which was shown through his WhatsApp as he shared material that was worrying, dangerous and increasingly extreme in tone.

"Why wasn't that picked up?" Mr Mendoza asked.

"It's very rare for someone to give off no indication that they've been radicalised in some way. It's really those signs more than the actual radicalisation happening under your nose that are what people ought to be picking up on."