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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.

What’s Your opinion?


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41 Responses to
Radicalisation or Resocialisation?
dungfungus 5:44 pm 13 Oct 15

No_Nose said :

Mysteryman said :

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

Your last sentence is a contradiction in terms.

How so?

Muslim’s have settled in Australia for well over 150 years and in that time Muslim men and women have been doctors, shopkeepers, soldiers, police officers, footballers, stockmen, housewives, immigration officers, nurses, truck drivers and any almost any other occupation you could care to name. That have been involved in local CWA, girl guides, scouts, surf lifesavers, kids football clubs, and volunteer bush fire brigades.

That all seems pretty compatible to me.

So we’re ok to generalise about them when it’s positive? But not when it’s negative?

Sorry, I’m still getting used to the apologist-speak.

I might be wrong on the semantics but I would look at it this way.

A ‘generalisation’ about a group should refer to the vast and overwhelming majority of the group.

The problem comes when you try to take the actions of a minuscule minority and apply it to the whole group.

It is a simple fact that the overwhelming number of Muslims in Australia integrate perfectly with Australian culture and society.

You use the terminology “simple fact” as describing the perfect integration of the majority of Muslims in Australia with Australian culture and society.
This is impossible if a Muslim subscribes to the shari’a described in the Qur’an, which deals with ethical and moral principles and other specific laws which must be stated by in a clear, specific and unambiguous way.
Examples include the command to pray five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, banning extra-marital sex, slander, or the consumption of alcohol and pork.
That’s another simple fact or two for you to consider.

rubaiyat 1:48 pm 13 Oct 15

Mysteryman said :

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

Your last sentence is a contradiction in terms.

How so?

Muslim’s have settled in Australia for well over 150 years and in that time Muslim men and women have been doctors, shopkeepers, soldiers, police officers, footballers, stockmen, housewives, immigration officers, nurses, truck drivers and any almost any other occupation you could care to name. That have been involved in local CWA, girl guides, scouts, surf lifesavers, kids football clubs, and volunteer bush fire brigades.

That all seems pretty compatible to me.

So we’re ok to generalise about them when it’s positive? But not when it’s negative?

Sorry, I’m still getting used to the apologist-speak.

Is this more along the lines of what you were thinking?:

White Australians are violent, ignorant, self obsessed, gambling obsessed drunks who will follow the United States, or any “powerful friend” of the moment, into wars, or anything else, because they have trouble thinking for themselves.

No_Nose 12:40 pm 13 Oct 15

Mysteryman said :

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

Your last sentence is a contradiction in terms.

How so?

Muslim’s have settled in Australia for well over 150 years and in that time Muslim men and women have been doctors, shopkeepers, soldiers, police officers, footballers, stockmen, housewives, immigration officers, nurses, truck drivers and any almost any other occupation you could care to name. That have been involved in local CWA, girl guides, scouts, surf lifesavers, kids football clubs, and volunteer bush fire brigades.

That all seems pretty compatible to me.

So we’re ok to generalise about them when it’s positive? But not when it’s negative?

Sorry, I’m still getting used to the apologist-speak.

I might be wrong on the semantics but I would look at it this way.

A ‘generalisation’ about a group should refer to the vast and overwhelming majority of the group.

The problem comes when you try to take the actions of a minuscule minority and apply it to the whole group.

It is a simple fact that the overwhelming number of Muslims in Australia integrate perfectly with Australian culture and society.

Mysteryman 12:15 pm 13 Oct 15

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

Your last sentence is a contradiction in terms.

How so?

Muslim’s have settled in Australia for well over 150 years and in that time Muslim men and women have been doctors, shopkeepers, soldiers, police officers, footballers, stockmen, housewives, immigration officers, nurses, truck drivers and any almost any other occupation you could care to name. That have been involved in local CWA, girl guides, scouts, surf lifesavers, kids football clubs, and volunteer bush fire brigades.

That all seems pretty compatible to me.

So we’re ok to generalise about them when it’s positive? But not when it’s negative?

Sorry, I’m still getting used to the apologist-speak.

Ghettosmurf87 12:13 pm 13 Oct 15

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

Your last sentence is a contradiction in terms.

How so?

Muslim’s have settled in Australia for well over 150 years and in that time Muslim men and women have been doctors, shopkeepers, soldiers, police officers, footballers, stockmen, housewives, immigration officers, nurses, truck drivers and any almost any other occupation you could care to name. That have been involved in local CWA, girl guides, scouts, surf lifesavers, kids football clubs, and volunteer bush fire brigades.

That all seems pretty compatible to me.

+1

No_Nose 8:57 am 13 Oct 15

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

Your last sentence is a contradiction in terms.

How so?

Muslim’s have settled in Australia for well over 150 years and in that time Muslim men and women have been doctors, shopkeepers, soldiers, police officers, footballers, stockmen, housewives, immigration officers, nurses, truck drivers and any almost any other occupation you could care to name. That have been involved in local CWA, girl guides, scouts, surf lifesavers, kids football clubs, and volunteer bush fire brigades.

That all seems pretty compatible to me.

rubaiyat 11:43 pm 12 Oct 15

bobzed57 said :

John, your article was going along swimmingly until you slipped in the anti-Catholic slur ‘I had been brainwashed by the Micks’. If you’re trying to argue from the high-ground, it’s best to stick to facts/opinion and not denigrate the reader.

As a Catholic I am sure he has a pretty good take on what Catholic “education” consists of.

I was not as slow as some. I remember at about 8 recognising that constant scripted repetition of words from a catechism did not constitute “understanding”.

Cheap glow in the dark plastic crucifixes, handed out as rewards for parroting set phrases correctly, did not dissuade me from the realisation that this was the unholiest load of tripe ever.

So at the tender age of 8 I started thinking for myself, a trick that has stood me in good stead and some at ten times that age have still to learn.

dungfungus 8:28 pm 12 Oct 15

bobzed57 said :

John, your article was going along swimmingly until you slipped in the anti-Catholic slur ‘I had been brainwashed by the Micks’. If you’re trying to argue from the high-ground, it’s best to stick to facts/opinion and not denigrate the reader.

Quite correct to cite John for this.
I doubt if the moderators would allow someone to refer to “being brainwashed by the Muzzies…..”.
A lot of Catholics will be offended by what John has said but they won’t burn his house down because of it.
That’s called religious tolerance.

bobzed57 3:05 pm 12 Oct 15

John, your article was going along swimmingly until you slipped in the anti-Catholic slur ‘I had been brainwashed by the Micks’. If you’re trying to argue from the high-ground, it’s best to stick to facts/opinion and not denigrate the reader.

Maya123 2:40 pm 12 Oct 15

Simmo said :

Here, here. Well said John. Maybe we just shouldn’t indoctrinate our kin with the fundamentalism of any religion. We can give them some ideas and moral boundaries and allow them to learn for themselves by observing us acting respectfully to everyone. I have travelled to several Muslim countries in recent years and never had a bad experience. Like in Australia 99% of the people you meet are friendly and helpful regardless of their faith.

Spoken from a male perspective.
Unless you are a young western female. Then you are after sex. As an older female no troubles, but as a younger unaccompanied female you are likely to be considered ‘experienced.’ Or if not, looking or ‘experience.’

dungfungus 2:32 pm 12 Oct 15

watto23 said :

Completely agree that this is not a muslim only issue. The fact that people are using the muslim faith to radicalise youths and get them to do their killing is just a harsher form of what all institutionalised religions /cults/groups do. All the hate towards islam fuels the radicals to recruit more disillusioned youths. If we stopped providing fuel for the radicals it would be harder to recruit.

This is also in reality no different to those in this country who feel the gay community should not have the same rights as others, or who see homosexuality as immoral. All that has happened is they have either read the bible or been told to read the bible in a certain way and have deemed that to mean homosexuality is whatever they believe. Plenty have read it a different way and have no qualms or issues with homosexuality. It is no different to what the radicalised muslims are doing. The only difference is killing another person is seen to be far worse (and rightfully so) than discriminating/bullying/victimising against another group of people.

So we basically have two right wing radical groups fighting with each other. Its far easier to side with the “Australian” patriot type groups, but all they are doing is adding fuel to the fire. If someone in this country feel truly unwanted, then swearing and name calling isn’t going to help the problem. Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

Your last sentence is a contradiction in terms.

Simmo 12:38 pm 12 Oct 15

Here, here. Well said John. Maybe we just shouldn’t indoctrinate our kin with the fundamentalism of any religion. We can give them some ideas and moral boundaries and allow them to learn for themselves by observing us acting respectfully to everyone. I have travelled to several Muslim countries in recent years and never had a bad experience. Like in Australia 99% of the people you meet are friendly and helpful regardless of their faith.

Maya123 12:01 pm 12 Oct 15

rubaiyat said :

Anybody here actually read the Koran?

You may find it quite illuminating.

I own a copy and have read over half of it, and I found what I read, worrying. Although, as my copy is in English, it would not be considered the actual Koran, but an interpretation of it. It is considered that only a Koran is the original Arabic is the true Koran.

rubaiyat 11:28 am 12 Oct 15

Anybody here actually read the Koran?

You may find it quite illuminating.

watto23 10:53 am 12 Oct 15

Completely agree that this is not a muslim only issue. The fact that people are using the muslim faith to radicalise youths and get them to do their killing is just a harsher form of what all institutionalised religions /cults/groups do. All the hate towards islam fuels the radicals to recruit more disillusioned youths. If we stopped providing fuel for the radicals it would be harder to recruit.

This is also in reality no different to those in this country who feel the gay community should not have the same rights as others, or who see homosexuality as immoral. All that has happened is they have either read the bible or been told to read the bible in a certain way and have deemed that to mean homosexuality is whatever they believe. Plenty have read it a different way and have no qualms or issues with homosexuality. It is no different to what the radicalised muslims are doing. The only difference is killing another person is seen to be far worse (and rightfully so) than discriminating/bullying/victimising against another group of people.

So we basically have two right wing radical groups fighting with each other. Its far easier to side with the “Australian” patriot type groups, but all they are doing is adding fuel to the fire. If someone in this country feel truly unwanted, then swearing and name calling isn’t going to help the problem. Muslims can practise islam and integrate into the Australian way of life.

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