Individual disengagement from Al Qa'ida-influenced terrorist groups

A Rapid Evidence Assessment to inform policy and practice in preventing terrorism

by Emma Disley, Kristin Weed, Anais Reding, Lindsay Clutterbuck, Richard Warnes

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This report, prepared for the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) in the UK Home Office, presents the findings of a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) into individual disengagement from Al Qa'ida-influenced terrorist groups. The project was commissioned to inform policy development in relation to the 'Prevent' strand of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy. The REA sought to answer two questions: 'What are the psychological, social and physical factors associated with leaving terrorist groups?' and 'What interventions have been employed to encourage individuals to leave terrorist groups, and is there any evidence as to their effectiveness?' Because there is very little research on leaving such terrorist groups, the OSCT also commissioned a second REA of the factors involved in leaving other groups — street gangs, religious cults, right-wing extremist groups and organised crime groups — in the hope of identifying potentially transferable lessons.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Factors associated with leaving Al Qa'ida-influenced terrorist groups

  • Chapter Three

    Exploring the basis for comparison between Al Qa'ida-influenced terrorist groups and other groups

  • Chapter Four

    Factors associated with leaving street gangs, religious cults, right-wing extremist groups and organised crime groups

  • Chapter Five

    Interventions that encourage individuals to leave street gangs, religious cults, right-wing extremist groups and organised crime groups

  • Chapter Six

    Summary of lessons learned for preventing Al Qa'ida-influenced terrorism

  • Appendix A

    Rapid Evidence Assessment methodology

  • Appendix B

    Characterising the quantity and quality of evidence

  • Appendix C

    List of excluded sources

  • Appendix D

    List of sources not available

  • Appendix E

    List of de-radicalisation programmes

  • Appendix F

    List of accounts of disengagement from Qa'ida-influenced terrorism

  • Appendix G

    List of programmes to encourage exit from right-wing extremist groups

  • Appendix H

    List of programmes to encourage exit from street gangs

Research conducted by

The research described in this document was prepared for the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, UK Home Office and conducted by RAND Europe.

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