Web Resources To Prevent Youth Radicalization

Newswise — New tools to help parents and educators protect vulnerable young people from online radicalization were released today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab (PERIL). The organizations released the new web resources in addition to updates to the 2020 guide, titled Building Resilience & Confronting Risk in the COVID-19 Era: A Parents & Caregivers Guide to Online Radicalization, and new tools specifically tailored for educators, counselors, coaches and mentors. 

“Young people are being targeted online by extremists looking to exploit and radicalize them,” said Lydia Bates, Senior Research Analyst with the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “This is why it was critical to us to not only provide resources for parents and caregivers but ensure they are as effective as possible.” In an impact study of 755 adults, the two organizations found that just seven minutes with the guide can dramatically improve a user’s knowledge of extremism and understanding of youth radicalization. Adults who spent more time reading the guide felt better equipped to take immediate action to prevent online radicalization.

Following last year’s release of the Building Resilience & Confronting Risk in the COVID-19 Era: A Parents & Caregivers Guide to Online Radicalization, SPLC and PERIL conducted the impact study and thirteen focus groups with educators, school counselors, social workers, coaches, mentors and youth group leaders. The findings from that research led to the development of SPLC and PERIL’s newly published resources. “Communities are looking for resources that not only help them recognize risks, but also build resilience to extremism,” said PERIL Director and Professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss. “Our goal is to inform and empower all adults with the tools to recognize signs of extremist radicalization and feel equipped to intervene with a young person in effective ways.”

The new resources include the updated Building Resilience & Confronting Risk: A Parents & Caregivers Guide to Online Radicalization as well as information about the key vulnerabilities that make youth more susceptible to radicalization; how to recognize the warning signs of radicalization; what drives online radicalization; how to get help and engage a radicalized child or young adult; and additional resources for help and support.

The new online resources can be viewed HERE and updated guide HERE.

Rise OfAntisemitism Globally &What’s Next For Israel-Palestinian Relations And Development?

American University experts are available for commentary and analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the rise of antisemitism in the United States and Europe. Experts available for comments include:

Dan Arbell, scholar-in-residence in the Dept. of History, is a 25-year veteran of the Israeli Foreign Service, serving in senior posts at the United Nations and in the United States and Japan, and holding senior positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters in Jerusalem.

Arbell said, “In the aftermath of the ceasefire, the U.S. is devoting diplomatic efforts to reinforce calm on the ground, establish a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and advance assistance for Gaza rehabilitation and reconstruction.  For this purpose, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will visit the region this week and will hold talks with Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian leaders.  It will be the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of State to Ramallah, after a four-year disconnect between the U.S. and the Palestinian leadership under Trump.”

Kurt Braddock is an assistant professor at the School of Communication and faculty fellow with the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab. He is available to comment on extremist groups and how they communicate, and the growth of antisemitism in Europe. He is also an expert in the persuasive strategies used by violent extremist groups to recruit and radicalize audiences targeted by their propaganda.

Michael Brenner is director of AU’s Center for Israel Studies and professor of Jewish History and Culture at Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. His research bridges Europe and the United States, focusing on the history of the Jews from the 19th to the 21st century, including the Shoah and the State of Israel. Brenner can comment on the foundations and history of the current conflict, issues related to the Holocaust and to Jewish life in Europe, and rising antisemitism.

Brenner said, “As a result of the war in Israel and Gaza, Jews elsewhere are under attack. We see this most clearly in Europe and the U.S., where anti-Israel extremists attack synagogues, shout anti-Jewish slogans, and use antisemitism imagery. When this happens, it clearly crosses the line of any legitimate criticism of the actions of the Israeli government. This is pure antisemitism and endangers Jewish life.”

Hrach Gregorian is the Administrative Director of the International Peace & Conflict Resolution Program at American University’s School of International Service. He is an expert on conflict resolution and peacebuilding with field experience in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, Central and East Asia.

Kareem Rabie is assistant professor of anthropology and the author of Palestine is Throwing a Party and the Whole World is Invited: Capital and State Building in the West Bank. The book focuses on the political economy of state-building and development, and how they impact the relationship of the West Bank to Israel. Rabie explores how international aid is being reconfigured and rerouted towards private development in order to stabilize markets and formalize present political conditions. Rabie’s work speaks to both potential outcomes of perpetual reconstruction in Palestine, and what it might mean for just and humane solutions to ongoing political problems.

Guy Ziv, assistant professor in the School of International Service, is an expert on U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, U.S.-Israel relations, and Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. He is the author of Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel. His opinion articles have appeared in leading American and Israeli newspapers, including The Baltimore Sun, CNN.com, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, and USA Today. He frequently appears as a commentator in major media outlets, such as Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN, and Sky News.

In its 128-year history, American University has established a reputation for producing changemakers focused on the challenges of a changing world. AU has garnered recognition for global education, public service, experiential learning and politically active and diverse students, as well as academic and research expertise in a wide range of areas including the arts, sciences, humanities, business and communication, political science and policy, governance, law and diplomacy.