Investigate the sources of terrorism, including radicalisation of individuals, the financing of terrorism, and typologies of terrorism.
With their broad experiences and role as representatives of society, parliamentarians are well positioned to investigate issues relating to terrorism, including examining conditions conducive to terrorism in order to establish policies to prevent it. Terrorism is generated by a variety of internal and external causes. Some of these can result from conditions in society, such as poverty and inequality, instability and conflict, corruption and weak or absent governance, external and internal terrorism funding, frustration and cultural alienation, and perceived injustice. These conditions and others provide fertile ground for citizens, especially youth, to be recruited by terrorist organisations often through the use of social media that glorifies terrorism and iconizes terrorists through the presentation of false narratives. CT policies should not be focused exclusively on narrow goals without addressing the complexity and variety of issues and cultural enablers that lead individuals into terrorism, including foreign and national factors, economic causes, and the abuse of religious beliefs by violent extremists.
Parliamentarians have the responsibility to assess and address causes of terrorism to tackle the facilitating conditions while strengthening democratic foundations. Respect for minorities’ rights (traditions, customs) is instrumental for societal resiliency and inclusion that prevent terrorism (no polarization among different ethnicities). Interfaith dialogue can seek to reduce sectarian tension.
One good practice for parliamentarians is to convene public hearings to discuss conditions conducive to terrorism within the local community. These can be attended by local officials, education, religious, and other community leaders, terrorism experts, youth experts, prison officials, and, where appropriate, even former terrorists who can provide a window into the radicalisation process. Such hearings should be handled in a non-partisan manner and lead to concrete solutions that can contribute to the development of national strategy and that can be implemented through legislation, policy and other means. The involvement of front-line civil society organisations, in particular those working with youths and the defence of children rights, can contribute to the public hearings.