Minn. must try deradicalization efforts

Jasper Johnson

Earlier this year, National Public Radio said that Minneapolis and St. Paul are “fast becoming the center of ISIS’ recruitment effort in the United States.” This statement is not without warrant; three Minnesota men were in custody this month for allegedly attempting to join the Islamic State. 
 
From combating the inception of terrorist recruitment to processing those who are convicted, Minnesota falls short. 
 
Failures of Minnesota’s efforts include local community members feeling the need to propose half-baked release plans for the three jailed men — plans that a judge ultimately rejected. Moreover, in a separate incident, a man charged with trying to join the Islamic State was sent back to custody from a halfway home after he was found with a box cutter. 
 
The impression I get is that local operations are unfamiliar with deradicalization and are fumbling through the process. 
 
Deradicalization is the process of reforming terrorists in custody to make them give up their radical mindsets. Counter-radicalization is preventing the adoption of radical ideology in the first place. Both practices are controversial. Their critics say they religiously discriminate and are essentially a politically correct guise for spy programs. 
 
Criticism is inevitable when the government tackles an ideological and cultural subject, and such concerns pale in comparison to the threats of Jihadism or the Islamic State.
 
Minnesota needs to be a national leader in deradicalization and counter-radicalization. The only way to achieve this is through collaboration between psychologists, political scientists, religious leaders and the judicial system. 
 
Additionally, the Minneapolis FBI and the mysterious CIA National Resources Division need to take a more active role in guiding the process rather than letting local officials 
flounder in uncharted territories.