The International Youth Action Against Terrorism, now under the trusteeship of Common Ground Centre is pleased to release the publication of the first volume of the Counter-Terrorism Studies Journal (CTS-J Vol. 1). Under the stewardship of Ms. Sanet Oberholzer, the process of creating this journal has been lengthy but worth it.

This first volume of the CTS-J explores the radicalization process and terrorism, with the argument that radicalization is a process and not a singular action, not all agents who started a radicalization process necessarily reach the violent levels related to “radical violence”; instead, they only adopt radical beliefs but keep levels of tolerance that enable them to live in society, by R.A. Benitez. Sumien Deetlefs comes in to give a critical reflection on the Kenyan government’s action that indirectly benefit the Al-Shabaab to recruit young Muslim Kenyans.

Eduardo Kapapelo comes in to interrogate the nature of Terrorism in Africa as states are arguably still the main actors in international relations and, in Africa the end of formal colonialism saw the rise of the African state as understood in western political theory. Whilst terrorism is not a new concept in Africa, political violence is, and continues to be, a source of terrorism in the region. The manifestations of terrorism in Africa are different from the manifestations of terrorism both in Europe and the United States. Whereas terrorism in the latter regions is more transnational in nature, the manifestations of terrorism in Africa seem to be linked more to domestic grievances; it is the state itself which to a greater extent is a contributing factor to terrorist activity in the region.

The CTS-J Vol. 1 also offers a Human Rights perspective to countering violent extremism and terrorism by Dingaan Willem Mathebula. He investigates the question “why does violent extremism continue to thrive in the midst of counter violent extremism?” This investigation followed a qualitative desktop review of literature including books, journal articles, statutes or international instruments as well as internet sources.

Closing in on this volume is an exploration of the role of populism on counter-extremism by Tamara Naidoo. On the domestic level, left spectrum parties are not competing well with the charm of populist rightist parties. In a turbulent time of sporadic terror attacks in Europe and Africa, this piece attempts firstly to situate youth in the political spectrum. Secondly, it explores how populist movements are taking shape and how this phenomenon relates to countering extremism.

We welcome you to get an issue of this volume, and as we embark on yet another year of CVE research, we hope you’ll be part of it. Comments, suggestions and contributions are welcome through our mail cgcdirectorate[at]gmail[dot]com

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