The role of the community and its involvement in deradicalization in Kenya: the case of Nairobi and Mombasa counties

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Ibrahim, Mustafa Mohamed
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University of Malta; DiploFoundation
Radicalization is increasingly gaining traction in Kenya, primarily as a consequence of the longstanding instability in Somalia and the growth of Islamist extremist groups such as Al Shabaab and Al-Qaeda in the region. Radicalization is also facilitated by myriad of factors such as marginalization of Muslim communities, ideological indoctrination and economic and political deprivation. Nairobi and Mombasa, the two biggest cities in Kenya, together with North Eastern Kenya are some of the worst affected regions in the country. Various studies have observed that radicalization takes place within a community setting. Yet, the government’s counter-radicalization strategy fails to appreciate the long-acknowledged fact that emphasizes the importance of involving local communities in this process. Instead, the government’s high-handed strategy of banning organizations, extra-judicial killings, forced disappearances and censorship has alienated local Muslim communities and ended up pushing many into the path of radicalization. This study interrogates the rise of radicalization and its implication in Nairobi and Mombasa counties and further identifies gaps in the government’s de-radicalization strategy. Finally, the study makes several recommendations for effectively involving the community in de-radicalization.