Violent extrism happens in many forms, and while most Americans think of jihadists – radical Muslims who believe that they are in the moral right to wage a holy war on the United States – we can find a variety of examples in locations throughout the world. In the U.S.,neo-nazism and extreme ends on the right and left of the political spectrum show violent sentiments.
Google is bringing together “former gang members, right-wing extremists, jihadists, and militants in Dublin,” along with survivors of extremist violence, for three days of discussion, debate, and workshops. All of the participants are working with anti-extremist groups and have an insider view of why these radical solutions appeal to young people.
But is Google being inconsistent? Wael Ghonim, the Google representative who was an activist in Egypt helping to overthrow a corrupt government, didn’t always stay toward the safe end of the scale – and even served time as a prisoner of war. He received the full support of Google, and he became a banner around which others who wanted to oust the government banded. And Google states that it wants to “initiate a global conversation on how best to prevent young people from becoming radicalised and how to de-radicalise others,” but the very term “radical” actually just means “root.”
It seems that Google is opposed to radical change as a general rule, but the company is willing to stand behind radical change that gets popular support. However, the summit isn’t a moral judgment on the issues that the extremists fight against, but a stance for peace and civility in approaching modern problems. “Technology has demonstrated it can be part of every problem,” said Jared Cohen of Google Idea. “We want to make sure it is part of every solution.”
[Sources include: The Google Public Policy Blog]