Experts explore counter-terrorism strategies in diverse communities

  • Last updated: 21 Apr. 2011 15:22

Communities in NATO member states have experienced great change over the years, with many becoming more diverse and culturally mixed. In parallel, terrorism has grown more complex, taking on various forms and resulting in counter-terrorism strategies becoming more sophisticated, comprehensive and inclusive. From 9 to 10 May, more than 30 security experts from NATO, partner and Mediterranean Dialogue countries will gather at a NATO-funded workshop in Antalya, Turkey to chart ways of incorporating the support of minority groups in counter-terrorism activities.

A man walks past graffiti showing CCTV cameras in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham, central England, October 2, 2010. West Midlands Police said it has removed or covered all covert "spy" cameras installed in areas of Birmingham with a large Muslim population after they were installed earlier this year, paid for with government money to tackle terrorism, according to local media.  REUTERS/Darren Staples   (BRITAIN - Tags: CRIME LAW)

The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States brought to the fore the vulnerability of places once deemed impervious to terrorist attacks. The presence of minority groups in the US, Europe as well as the Balkans pose a different set of challenges for counter-terrorism activities, and therefore their combined support is now recognised as crucial in the prevention of such acts. Participants at the workshop will discuss and share information on a variety of issues, including:

  • immigration and naturalisation: western passports’ importance for terror;
  • the challenges and prospects of counter-terrorism in Africa;
  • culture-oriented counter-terrorism;
  • creating bridges of trust in diverse communities and;
  • policing the modern city: local counter-terrorism in the US.

As the fight to eradicate terrorist acts takes on different dimensions, the quest to understand the terrorist must become equally dynamic. If law enforcement agencies fail to gain the support of all the different groups in their community, terrorists have a greater chance of operating “under the radar”. To date, less attention has been given to overcoming the language, cultural and ideological challenges within culturally and linguistically diverse communities during counter-terrorism operations.

With active involvement from world-renown institutions like Cranfield University –Defence Academy (UK), International Risk & Crisis Management (Belgium) and RAND Europe (UK), this event will create a forum for cross-cultural expertise and perspectives to be shared and used for future collaboration.

This workshop is funded by the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme under one of its key priorities – “Defence against terrorist threats”. The event serves as a clear example of NATO’s meticulous approach to peace and security.

For more information, visit www.nato.int/science (see “Calendar” for organisers’ contact details).