‘Education key to combating?terrorism’, ?says terrorism expert

Former FBI agent believes?having?a critical-thinking culture within global society can be?the?antidote to radicalization

Critical?thinking and?promoting?openness, transparency,?and dialogue will allow?global?society to curtail terrorism, an?ex-FBI?agent has claimed while?visiting Qatar?for a security forum co-organized by Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University.?

According to Ali Soufan,?who investigated a series of major international terrorism cases as an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, policymakers, governments,?and society?as a whole?must?recognize?that?educational and career?opportunities have to be?visible, equitable, and accessible, or?connections?between disenfranchisement?and terrorism?will continue to grow.??

And he believes?that only?through?education?can?society remove the?alienization that becomes a?fertile breeding ground?for?radicalization.?

Mr.?Soufan?is founder of the Soufan Center, a non-profit organization focused?on increasing awareness of security issues around the world, which?co-organized the 2019 Global Security Forum with Hamad Bin Khalifa University at the St. Regis Hotel in Doha. Over two days,?the forum?explored security challenges created by the modern trend of disinformation.

And speaking during the event,?Mr.?Soufan?said:?If?education is not available, you’re not going to have safe, secure,?and stable societies down the road.

Education?is?not?the only weapon against terrorism but?having an?educated?population will prevent?the?manipulation that terrorists rely on for?recruiting.? ?

You need to?promote?critical thinking. For populations that don’t have critical thinking you need to give them the tools to a better future, economically and socially, because that will help them with?finding their identity,?and decrease their?feeling of alienation.?

At a special?forum?session?entitled ‘Global Terrorism Trends and the Role of Education’ Mr. Soufan talked about how the connectivity of modern society?allows the?impartial?dissemination of?facts,?and?how?interpretation and acceptance?of this information?relies?solely on?people’s?own filters. Factor?in?a default preference for confirmation bias, he said,?and the?need for?critical thinking?skills?becomes, dangerously, apparent.

Explaining?how easily a lack of education?can?lead?to?tragic?circumstances, he?pointed?to the number of recent deaths in India that?have been?directly attributed to inaccurate, if not entirely fake, social media posts.?

And Mr.?Soufan?praised?Qatar-created?initiatives?like Educate?A?Child?for their?work?in?opening?up opportunities to?the disadvantaged. We see people doing an amazing job in trying to assist and help communities in poor countries around the world with programs, he said.??

And?at Qatar Foundation,?where?a?number?of?international?academic institutions from around the world,?have been?brought together to provide accessible,?liberal?and STEM-type?education?programs?to people in the region,?there is?a mandate to create the required critical mass of critical thinking.

Source: Qatar Foundation