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Europe is increasingly struggling to support the reintegration of people
who have returned from ISIS-controlled areas and have been adherents of their
ideology. There are a variety of methods developed to support the de-radicalisation and disengagement of Islamic radicals. This article provides an overview of the methods and discussion topics used by practitioners in the framework of such deradicalisation and disengagement programmes. The research is based on interviews with experts from Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. As a result, the author has drawn the following conclusions: 1) The selection of methods used for de-radicalisation and disengagement depend on the individual in question. In this context, the most important starting point is to gain an understanding of the factors that contributed to that specific person’s radicalisation and/or involvement in an extremist organisation; 2) The main supportive methods are mentoring, socio-economic aid/assistance, psychological and religious counselling; 3) The discussions with mentors and other sponsors are aimed at developing new perspectives. The main topics of discussion are related to identity, belonging, foreign policy and possible new ventures; whereas the issues of religion and ideology are the focal topics for people whose radicalisation and/or engagement with extremist organisations was motivated primarily by those aspects. Overall, the results indicate that the methods used to support de-radicalisation and disengagement should be tailored to the needs of the individual. However, there is still a lot of work to be done by organisations running such radicalisation and disengagement programmes in order to improve their capacity to deliver a variety of activities to support an individual’s reintegration in a holistic manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-179
Number of pages31
JournalEstonian Journal of Military Studies
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2019


  • ideology
  • deradicalisation
  • terrorism
  • disengagement
  • deradicalisation programmes

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