What’s become known as the “Aarhus Model” is an interesting take on developing trust with extremists — even those who are tempted to flee to Syria and support ISIS.
It touches on the underpinnings of what we discussed in this month’s Consent-Building Clinic #83, and what we’ve taught in our CPO-2 course that focuses on dealing with extremists.
That is, it’s not enough to say you care — you have to demonstrate it.
Look into the work of a handful of detectives in the Danish town of Aarhus, who rather than vilify teenagers tempted to join ISIS fighters in Syria, asked them to meet for coffee and then actually listened to how they became so disaffected with their homeland.
For many, if not most of those burgeoning terrorists, being heard caused them to finally believe what the officials and others were saying: they DID care about these youths and their frustrations.
Moreover, the police detectives acknowledged and validated the source of the teenagers’ feelings.
They HAD been treated unfairly, and while that was true they need not abandon Denmark and become radicalized to even the score.
Also laid out before them was that if they continued down the path of terrorism offered by ISIS, these teenagers could expect a grim future . . .
Listen to one of the nearly radicalized teens retell the story in the July 2016 Invisibilia podcast episode “Flipping the Script”.
You’ll hear him say that by simply listening to him — he concluded he could trust these detectives.
They gained credibility with him which was the key to turning his extremist attitude around 180 degrees.
As you heard Hans say in this month’s Clinic, dealing with extremists IS dangerous business.
But until you show them you really do want to understand them, you won’t have the essential trust needed to make progress on de-escalating their (Anti-Government) attitudes and behaviors.
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Until next time, let us know what credibility issues you bump up against.
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