Combating Extremism

Solutions Journalism Network

Art by James Dryden

Adapted from Marie von Hafften

Violent extremism refers to the beliefs and actions of people who use or support the use of violence to achieve political, ideological, religious, or social goals. American citizens are quick to condemn examples of violent extremism around the world, from WWII's Nazi Germany, to the 1994 genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis, to radical Islamic violence in the Middle East, but are often reluctant to label and condemn acts of  extremism within our own borders. As uncomfortable as as the topic may be, however, recent years have clearly demonstrated that white supremacist ideologies pose a clear and present danger to the United States - culminating in the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. Since 2000, white supremacist groups have been responsible for more domestic terrorism attacks than any other extremist group in the U.S. 

With these events in mind, this collection offers four approaches to combating violent extremism through dialogue with potential, current, and former extremists: offering help, networking, educating, and redirecting. Together, these responses show multiple ways of effectively interacting with proponents of violent and hateful ideologies.

Click here for more stories in the Solutions Story Tracker on counterterrorism.