The ‘BRAVE’ deradicalization of the Kenyans


Nairobi, Kenya: The proliferation of extremist groups around the African continent have taken the sleep away of the security personnel around the world. While there have been discussions and debates going on how to tackle this upsurge of violence, one organization in Kenya has taken the responsibility to aid the youths and elders of Kenya back into the right path again.

The organization is known as Building Resilience against Violence Extremism or simply as BRAVE. It works to counter the effects of the radical principles that can trap the minds of the vulnerable youths and also of the Clerics and Imams.

Over 2000 young Kenyans have registered themselves for the program, some of them are sent on court order while others have signed up on their own. There is a program which is run for four days and admits especially clerics and Imams into it. The sessions help them learn to counter the message of the radicals.

So far, BRAVE has trained about 150 clerics and Imams. One of them is Imam Aizadin Omar, he has been related to a mosque, at the outskirts of Nairobi, for 5 years now. One which has been reported in a 2013 UN report which linked one of its officials to terrorist funding.

Omar says that the program has helped him to detect and counter extremist leanings in his community. He also adds that before the youths can be deradicalized, one has to go step by step, then there are adults as well who are deeply radicalized and changing them back is quite hard.

According to the founder of BRAVE, Mustafa Alai, some are still staying away as there works a fear of reprisal. He states that: “Many Kenyans, particularly the Muslims have been intimidated by the violent extremist groups to such an extent that they don’t to talk about violent extremism or else of terrorism. Specially the intimidation is highly intense in places like Mandera and north-eastern Kenya”.

Whereas, the experts say that the root causes like unemployment should also be addressed.

Andrew Franklin, a security analyst, is of the opinion that that the deradicalizing programs only deals with the symptoms rather than the causes of the problem. He asks that question regarding exactly what cause people, especially youths to get such attachments to violence, from being alienated to being marginalized, to picking up of weapons. In other words, becoming radicalized, to going off to fight and join these terrorist groups. (The news is brought to you by NewsGram in association with VOA.