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Radicalisation or Resocialisation?

By John Hargreaves 12 October 2015 41

fundamentalism

The radicalisation of the young 15-year-old killing an innocent man has shocked the country. The arrest of what seems to be a cabal of radicalised young men of Muslim faith surprises no one and their influence over a seemingly innocent and impressionable young man doesn’t surprise many of us either. That is because we have been conditioned to regard radicalisation as a Muslim thing and something we should be afraid of.

The world is now the battleground of the radical, the terrorist, the lone wolf martyr. This aspect of our lives seems recent but on reflection I’m not sure that it is.

Violence in the name of religion, righteousness, or culture has been going on for centuries and well we all know it.

The Persians did it, the Greeks did it, the Romans did it, the Spanish and the English did it, the Chinese did it, the Cambodians did it, and so on.

The Christians did it to each other, the Muslims did it to each other, the Buddhists are doing it to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the Chinese are doing it to the Uyghur Muslim minorities, the Hutus did it to the Tutsis, the North African newly-created states are doing it to their own peoples. These are just some examples and we can all add to this list.

My own experience was the race riots in Malaysia in 1967/68 when I lived there. I saw some awful atrocities perpetrated in the name of cultural ethnicity. The Malays slaughtered Chinese and the Chinese returned the favour.

When contemplating why this is so, and why is it so infectious, I was reminded of some studies I did in sociology many years ago which addressed socialisation.

The theory seemed to be that humans are a herd animal and we develop norms, standards, rules governing our society and we inculcate them into our offspring. If these differ from the herd next door we feel threatened and sometimes react violently.

The process of dealing with people who do not conform to our notion of society is resocialisation. This is manifested most obviously in the rehabilitation of offenders in our prison system. But this is only the tip of the iceberg and we live with examples of resocialisation every day.

When I was sixteen, I went to a Catholic school in Melbourne. I was an average student but happy with my lot. As part of the indoctrination of the Church I started to feel the call of the vocation. The vocation of the priesthood and in particular the life of a missionary priest overseas.

(Interestingly, we still get visited here by missionaries trying to covert us to their brand of Christianity, because we are pagan lot aren’t we? I chortle at the sight of a Mormon missionary standing at my door wearing a badge declaring him, and his partner, as the Elder Joe Bloggsfeld and he being younger than my grandchild. Where the Elder bit comes from mystifies me.)

Back to the priesthood. I had been brainwashed by the Micks into believing that theirs was the only true faith and everyone else was wrong and needed saving. However, we weren’t encouraged to use violence to save souls; that went out of vogue in the 1800s. Note here that it was part of the process though.

Cigarettes, girls and booze arrived (in that order) and I opted for another path. Enter, stage left, National Service. The Army. This was where I experienced and witnessed the process of desocialisation, followed by resocialisation.

This is where my rules of engagement with the world at large were torn down and replaced with that of the prevailing order of the Armed Forces. They destroyed my independence of thought, my inquisitive and challenging approach to directions and created my blind acceptance of the rightness of authority greater than my own. They destroyed my mould and created another.

This is institutionalised brainwashing, just like the religions do it to their adherents.

But it is OK because after all, we are on the side of righteousness. Our God is the only true one and we must defend our faith. Really?

When the authorities talk of tackling the radicalised youth, they are talking about the young Muslim kids who are likely to turn violent in response to the perceived evil being perpetrated upon their kind, or because their God demands that infidels be put to the sword.

We, as a society do need to look to change the path of these young people. We do need to change their perception of why they are here on Earth, we do need to give them more relevance to the Australian norms of freedom and respect. We do need to give the troubled young people the relief they need from their internal battles and we do need to remove the negative influences in their lives.

But make no mistake. This is not a Muslim thing. The creature we are dealing with is not only a Muslim phenomenon. It goes on all over the world with different people killing each other in the name of some abstract concept like religion or ethnicity. The Muslim aspect is just the most obvious, the most widespread and the most recent stage in the history of mankind.

The most insidious embryo of radicalisation is found in the entrails of religious fervour. But the process of radicalisation can be reversed with desocialisation and resocialisation. It is a lengthy and costly exercise. But it must be done with care. Care must be taken not to merely replace one set of radical thinking with another. Converting Muslims to Christianity or Buddhism is not the answer.

What surprises me sometimes is that we see examples of resocialisation (and radicalisation is just the most extreme of this process) all the time. As I said, it is in our religions, in our schools, in our armed forces, in our police forces, in our political parties and in our social groups. Indeed, in some cases it is even in our families.

I don’t know the answer but I also don’t think that many in our community understand the process of radicalisation and resocialisation and if it is not understood, an antidote is a long way off.


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Radicalisation or Resocialisation?
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dungfungus 7:42 am 19 Oct 15

gazket said :

Why are the people who are caught going to Syria to join ISIL are interrogated told they can’t leave and then released back into the community so they can take their death wishes out on us in Australians ?

These people should be locked away till the war is over.

Sorry, I forgot the link: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA19981110022

dungfungus 7:37 am 19 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

gazket said :

Why are the people who are caught going to Syria to join ISIL are interrogated told they can’t leave and then released back into the community so they can take their death wishes out on us in Australians ?

These people should be locked away till the war is over.

I can’t figure out why we would
stop people going away to fight wars (like Israeli conscripts…. yeah right) yet make them stay and hate us a bit more…. Hello?

If you were a sitting Labor MP in a Western Sydney seat you would quickly figure it out John.

rosscoact 5:00 am 19 Oct 15

LOL. John, you know you’re important when people pore over your every word, waiting for the opportunity to mis-interpret, misrepresent and miss the point.

Masquara 7:20 pm 18 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

gazket said :

Why are the people who are caught going to Syria to join ISIL are interrogated told they can’t leave and then released back into the community so they can take their death wishes out on us in Australians ?

These people should be locked away till the war is over.

I can’t figure out why we would
stop people going away to fight wars (like Israeli conscripts…. yeah right) yet make them stay and hate us a bit more…. Hello?

So you won’t decry Muslim terrorism but you’ll decry the Jews. Showing your true colours there.

John Hargreaves 6:30 pm 18 Oct 15

gazket said :

Why are the people who are caught going to Syria to join ISIL are interrogated told they can’t leave and then released back into the community so they can take their death wishes out on us in Australians ?

These people should be locked away till the war is over.

I can’t figure out why we would
stop people going away to fight wars (like Israeli conscripts…. yeah right) yet make them stay and hate us a bit more…. Hello?

gazket 4:37 pm 17 Oct 15

Why are the people who are caught going to Syria to join ISIL are interrogated told they can’t leave and then released back into the community so they can take their death wishes out on us in Australians ?

These people should be locked away till the war is over.

No_Nose 12:00 pm 16 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

The answers to your questions are: yes I think those acts were “terrorist” type actions. They were just not religion based in their inception. Terrorism is not only about religion. It can be about anything where the perpetrator wishes to either frighten a group of people, remedy some wrong perceived by them, achieve a political goal or indeed a religious objective. Bryant was a terrorist. His action was terrifying to those who tried to escape his eye line. Why he did what he did is immaterial, it was terror.

Just because something is terrifying is doesn’t necessarily flow that it is terrorism. Rape, Domestic Violence, mugging, home invasions, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery and many other things are terrifying to the victim. But that doesn’t make them terrorism. They could be, but it would depend on ‘why’ the action took place.

To give a quick example: Burning down an abortion clinic because you are a firebug and like watching things burn is arson, burning down an abortion clinic because you are opposed to abortions taking place is a terrorist act.

Exactly the same actions in each instance. but the reason for the action is what changes it.

The ‘why’ is the most important part in determining whether something is a terrorist act.

Was Martin Bryants action terrifying? Undoubtably. But I can’t see how they would fit within a definition of terrorism.

John Hargreaves 11:23 am 16 Oct 15

Mysteryman said :

John Hargreaves said :

To those who were offended by the term “Mick”, I say get a life. I was discriminated against for most of my childhood and teenage years as being a “Pom” but I learned to just roll with it.

Funny how when you replace the word “Mick” in that sentence with pejorative nouns that describe people of darker skin colour, or of muslim belief, the hypocrisy of your position becomes clearer.

So when exactly did I do that?

John Hargreaves 11:22 am 16 Oct 15

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

To those who were offended by the term “Mick”, I say get a life. I was discriminated against for most of my childhood and teenage years as being a “Pom” but I learned to just roll with it. Further, I am a Catholic, proud of it, and am entitled to describe my own religion any way I like.

on the question of radicalisation and marginalisation, I remind readers that the worst act of terrorism committed in Australian history (other than the crimes against the indigenous peoples) was by a whiter Christian male – Martin Bryant. He was a lone wolf, investigations into his life before Port Arthur revealed a troubled and marginalised young man driven by inner devils to do an evil act.

But… do we blame all Christians for this one? Have we learned anything from the crime about being on the look out for troubled young people who may strike violently? Has the message of mental health inadequacies been learned?

Radicalisation and marginalisation have their fertility in the vulnerable. Religion is a contributor to that vulnerability.

And now, just to upset a few more people, I regard the recruit training as a form of indoctrination, which is resocialisation after desocialisation and I reckon that the seminaries of religions are merely recruit training battalions for those organisations.

John, you say you are a proud Catholic but you write that you totally rejected the teachings you received in your early years. With out belief in those teachings you can’t legitimately still claim to be a Catholic.
I don’t think Martin Bryant, who definitely acted alone, should be considered a terrorist but if you insist he is we could consider the 88 Australians who were definitely killed by terrorists in Bali as being the worst terrorist attack on Australians even though it didn’t happen on Australian soil.
In 1977 an English migrant, 23yo Colin Forman, stole a twin-engine aircraft in Western Australia and flew it for 4 hours before deliberately crashing it into an airport building at Alice Springs killing 5 people and himself. He had documented this as a “suicide mission” against a former employer. Do we call that a terrorist attack?
When someone with a gun (lone-wolf person, of course) knocks on you door and asks you if you are a Muslim will you defiantly say “no, I am a proud Catholic”?

The answers to your questions are: yes I think those acts were “terrorist” type actions. They were just not religion based in their inception. Terrorism is not only about religion. It can be about anything where the perpetrator wishes to either frighten a group of people, remedy some wrong perceived by them, achieve a political goal or indeed a religious objective. Bryant was a terrorist. His action was terrifying to those who tried to escape his eye line. Why he did what he did is immaterial, it was terror.

Would I, if someone came to my door and asked if I was a Muslim, identify as a Catholic? Yep. I always do. Nowhere do I say I have totally rejected the teachings of my youth. I have identified those processes which are not wholesome, in my view, but I still hold firmly the intrinsic and fundamentals of my Catholic faith. I do however, like all Micks, go through the dark days of the soul in relation to some basic tenets like the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the Ascension of Jesus, the Immaculate Conception to name a few.

I also fundamentally disagree with the Church on stuff like homosexuality, abortion and female priests.

To disagree though, is not to disavow.

Mysteryman 10:25 am 15 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

To those who were offended by the term “Mick”, I say get a life. I was discriminated against for most of my childhood and teenage years as being a “Pom” but I learned to just roll with it.

Funny how when you replace the word “Mick” in that sentence with pejorative nouns that describe people of darker skin colour, or of muslim belief, the hypocrisy of your position becomes clearer.

Maya123 10:02 am 15 Oct 15

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

No_Nose said :

Masquara said :

No-one is worried about the moderates.

Thats not really true though is it?

There seems to be quite a few people, including some on here, who are unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between the behaviour of the majority of decent law-abiding patriotic Australian muslims, and the murderous actions of a few extremist nutjobs.

Just ISIS alone have an army of over 200,000 but as you say, that is only a few.
We will see what happens when ISIS activates their fifth column here.

Well went you take it as a percentage of worldwide muslims yes it is a very small percentage. That doesn’t mean that the extremists aren’t dangerous or evil, they most certainly are and we should be trying to wipe them out.

But what does that have to do with the law abiding patriotic Australian muslims living peaceful and productive lives in line with the Australian values they share with the majority of the Australian population? Because once again, that is the majority of muslim aussies, not the small minority of nutjobs.

Could I ask what are you basing this “all Muslims can’t fit in with Australian values” rhetoric on? Have you ever had a Muslim friend or even a close work colleague? Ever had a chat with one at the pub or the footy? Been round to a muslim mates place for dinner? Made the effort to drop into the local mosque for a chat? Argued politics or religion with your muslim taxi driver on a long fare? Been down to ANU to talk to some muslim scholars (or atheist professors) about islam?

If not, I recommend you try some of these things.

I’ve done most of the things you say to do. Lived with Muslims in my own house. Worked with them. Had conversations with them. Celebrated Ramadan with them and had to make allowances for their fasting, which I have done without complaint. Visited mosques, and even in a country overseas been taken for a tour of the massive mosque by a mosque official, including up the calling tower. Mostly been treated politely and friendly, but I have also seen the behaviour towards non Muslim religions and read over half the Koran, and it is not a religion I could recommend. I would like to say more, but that would be censored.

dungfungus 8:17 am 15 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

To those who were offended by the term “Mick”, I say get a life. I was discriminated against for most of my childhood and teenage years as being a “Pom” but I learned to just roll with it. Further, I am a Catholic, proud of it, and am entitled to describe my own religion any way I like.

on the question of radicalisation and marginalisation, I remind readers that the worst act of terrorism committed in Australian history (other than the crimes against the indigenous peoples) was by a whiter Christian male – Martin Bryant. He was a lone wolf, investigations into his life before Port Arthur revealed a troubled and marginalised young man driven by inner devils to do an evil act.

But… do we blame all Christians for this one? Have we learned anything from the crime about being on the look out for troubled young people who may strike violently? Has the message of mental health inadequacies been learned?

Radicalisation and marginalisation have their fertility in the vulnerable. Religion is a contributor to that vulnerability.

And now, just to upset a few more people, I regard the recruit training as a form of indoctrination, which is resocialisation after desocialisation and I reckon that the seminaries of religions are merely recruit training battalions for those organisations.

John, you say you are a proud Catholic but you write that you totally rejected the teachings you received in your early years. With out belief in those teachings you can’t legitimately still claim to be a Catholic.
I don’t think Martin Bryant, who definitely acted alone, should be considered a terrorist but if you insist he is we could consider the 88 Australians who were definitely killed by terrorists in Bali as being the worst terrorist attack on Australians even though it didn’t happen on Australian soil.
In 1977 an English migrant, 23yo Colin Forman, stole a twin-engine aircraft in Western Australia and flew it for 4 hours before deliberately crashing it into an airport building at Alice Springs killing 5 people and himself. He had documented this as a “suicide mission” against a former employer. Do we call that a terrorist attack?
When someone with a gun (lone-wolf person, of course) knocks on you door and asks you if you are a Muslim will you defiantly say “no, I am a proud Catholic”?

No_Nose 12:36 am 15 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

I remind readers that the worst act of terrorism committed in Australian history (other than the crimes against the indigenous peoples) was by a whiter Christian male – Martin Bryant. He was a lone wolf, investigations into his life before Port Arthur revealed a troubled and marginalised young man driven by inner devils to do an evil act..

I really don’t think we can define Martin Bryant’s act as ‘terrorism’. Terrorism is defined not so much by the act, but by the reasons for that act.

Murder, Arson, Kidnapping etc have always been criminal acts. Committing those crimes becomes acts of terrorism if they are committed for the purposes of advancing a particular political or religious ideology or with the intent of forcing a group (such as the government, a particular race,a company or even the general public) to change its policies , practices or procedures.

I can’t see how Bryant fits within that.

No_Nose 9:49 pm 14 Oct 15

dungfungus said :

No_Nose said :

Masquara said :

No-one is worried about the moderates.

Thats not really true though is it?

There seems to be quite a few people, including some on here, who are unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between the behaviour of the majority of decent law-abiding patriotic Australian muslims, and the murderous actions of a few extremist nutjobs.

Just ISIS alone have an army of over 200,000 but as you say, that is only a few.
We will see what happens when ISIS activates their fifth column here.

Well went you take it as a percentage of worldwide muslims yes it is a very small percentage. That doesn’t mean that the extremists aren’t dangerous or evil, they most certainly are and we should be trying to wipe them out.

But what does that have to do with the law abiding patriotic Australian muslims living peaceful and productive lives in line with the Australian values they share with the majority of the Australian population? Because once again, that is the majority of muslim aussies, not the small minority of nutjobs.

Could I ask what are you basing this “all Muslims can’t fit in with Australian values” rhetoric on? Have you ever had a Muslim friend or even a close work colleague? Ever had a chat with one at the pub or the footy? Been round to a muslim mates place for dinner? Made the effort to drop into the local mosque for a chat? Argued politics or religion with your muslim taxi driver on a long fare? Been down to ANU to talk to some muslim scholars (or atheist professors) about islam?

If not, I recommend you try some of these things.

chewy14 8:49 pm 14 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

To those who were offended by the term “Mick”, I say get a life. I was discriminated against for most of my childhood and teenage years as being a “Pom” but I learned to just roll with it. Further, I am a Catholic, proud of it, and am entitled to describe my own religion any way I like.

on the question of radicalisation and marginalisation, I remind readers that the worst act of terrorism committed in Australian history (other than the crimes against the indigenous peoples) was by a whiter Christian male – Martin Bryant. He was a lone wolf, investigations into his life before Port Arthur revealed a troubled and marginalised young man driven by inner devils to do an evil act.

But… do we blame all Christians for this one? Have we learned anything from the crime about being on the look out for troubled young people who may strike violently? Has the message of mental health inadequacies been learned?

Radicalisation and marginalisation have their fertility in the vulnerable. Religion is a contributor to that vulnerability.

And now, just to upset a few more people, I regard the recruit training as a form of indoctrination, which is resocialisation after desocialisation and I reckon that the seminaries of religions are merely recruit training battalions for those organisations.

I never knew Martin Bryant attributed his mass murder to some form of religious fanaticism John. That is truly a revelation to me, perhaps you have a link?

Maya123 7:09 pm 14 Oct 15

John Hargreaves said :

To those who were offended by the term “Mick”, I say get a life. I was discriminated against for most of my childhood and teenage years as being a “Pom” but I learned to just roll with it. Further, I am a Catholic, proud of it, and am entitled to describe my own religion any way I like.

on the question of radicalisation and marginalisation, I remind readers that the worst act of terrorism committed in Australian history (other than the crimes against the indigenous peoples) was by a whiter Christian male – Martin Bryant. He was a lone wolf, investigations into his life before Port Arthur revealed a troubled and marginalised young man driven by inner devils to do an evil act.

But… do we blame all Christians for this one? Have we learned anything from the crime about being on the look out for troubled young people who may strike violently? Has the message of mental health inadequacies been learned?

Radicalisation and marginalisation have their fertility in the vulnerable. Religion is a contributor to that vulnerability.

And now, just to upset a few more people, I regard the recruit training as a form of indoctrination, which is resocialisation after desocialisation and I reckon that the seminaries of religions are merely recruit training battalions for those organisations.

“Martin Bryant. He was a lone wolf, investigations into his life before Port Arthur revealed a troubled and marginalised young man driven by inner devils to do an evil act.

But… do we blame all Christians for this one?”

Was Martin Bryant a Christian? I didn’t hear that religion came into it. Yes you will always have mass murders like this (I had friends killed at Port Arthur), but people with extremist religious views appear more likely to commit murders in the name of their religion, whether it’s Muslims, or Christian (think abortion clinics), or another religion. And I would hazard a guess that people with mild religious views are more likely, given the right circumstances, which might be coming into contact with religious extremists, to become indoctrinated, than people with no religion. Years ago I read for instance, that the most likely young person to be influenced by Christian cults, came from Christian families.

John Hargreaves 6:03 pm 14 Oct 15

To those who were offended by the term “Mick”, I say get a life. I was discriminated against for most of my childhood and teenage years as being a “Pom” but I learned to just roll with it. Further, I am a Catholic, proud of it, and am entitled to describe my own religion any way I like.

on the question of radicalisation and marginalisation, I remind readers that the worst act of terrorism committed in Australian history (other than the crimes against the indigenous peoples) was by a whiter Christian male – Martin Bryant. He was a lone wolf, investigations into his life before Port Arthur revealed a troubled and marginalised young man driven by inner devils to do an evil act.

But… do we blame all Christians for this one? Have we learned anything from the crime about being on the look out for troubled young people who may strike violently? Has the message of mental health inadequacies been learned?

Radicalisation and marginalisation have their fertility in the vulnerable. Religion is a contributor to that vulnerability.

And now, just to upset a few more people, I regard the recruit training as a form of indoctrination, which is resocialisation after desocialisation and I reckon that the seminaries of religions are merely recruit training battalions for those organisations.

HiddenDragon 5:51 pm 14 Oct 15

dungfungus said :

HiddenDragon said :

History rhymes (as Mark Twain may, or may, not have said) – one hundred years ago:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Broken_Hill

We got over that, and will eventually, I believe, get over what is happening now.

Well, that argument that the Sydney mullahs are touting that Muslims only become extremists because they are “radicalised” through watching ISIS propaganda on the internet just went out the window, didn’t it.
In what way have we “gotten over it”?
Who is “we”?

Some of what I have heard suggests that the boy responsible for the Parramatta shooting might have more in common – in terms of his ultimate motivations – with those responsible for mass shootings in the US. Particular creeds – or perversions of such – serve as a pretext and, at times, a trigger for an explosion of anger.

“We” was a reference to the majority of the Australian community.

dungfungus 2:49 pm 14 Oct 15

No_Nose said :

Masquara said :

No-one is worried about the moderates.

Thats not really true though is it?

There seems to be quite a few people, including some on here, who are unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between the behaviour of the majority of decent law-abiding patriotic Australian muslims, and the murderous actions of a few extremist nutjobs.

Just ISIS alone have an army of over 200,000 but as you say, that is only a few.
We will see what happens when ISIS activates their fifth column here.

No_Nose 6:58 am 14 Oct 15

Masquara said :

No-one is worried about the moderates.

Thats not really true though is it?

There seems to be quite a few people, including some on here, who are unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between the behaviour of the majority of decent law-abiding patriotic Australian muslims, and the murderous actions of a few extremist nutjobs.

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