Although many believe that terrorism started on September 11, 2001, terrorism has been around for centuries, although the scale was smaller then. But from that day forward, life and the world as we know it was changed forever. Since that day, there have been over 20,000 deadly terror attacks killing millions of people, more than 47,000 bombings, 14,000 assassinations, and 5,300 kidnappings.

Today, there are 256 international terrorists groups.

Fast-forwarding through the centuries since the dawn of terrorism, we are at the age of modern-time terrorism. We want it to end, we want to fight it, but how can we do that without shedding more blood and igniting more wars? What has the war on terror achieved? Has killing terrorists proven effective? If so, why didn’t terrorism die with the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011? It is easy to kill a person, but it takes forever to kill an ideology.

To be in a better place than where we were, we need to identify the root of terrorism and how one becomes radicalized. The answer to how these youth become radicalized by these terrorist groups lies in knowing how terrorists plan and focus their aim on these oblivious young people; they essentially prey on the youth, who fall loosely into two categories: some uneducated with no prospects or vision for the future, and some highly educated children of immigrants who have bright futures and endless opportunities, but who are unaware of the teachings of Islam. These young people, who had their whole lives in front of them, unfortunately feel lost with no sense of belonging or identity; both groups are easy to manipulate.

Leaked information from ISIL records provides the below information:

  • Data on 3,803 recruits from abroad in the organization reveals that recruits from several countries on all continents, with the majority being in the 20-35 age group. The fact that most combatants are youth confirms the common belief that violent extremist groups focus mainly on youth recruitment. Of those with data on education (83.7% of all records), 30.3% had a university degree, 82.1% had at least a secondary qualification, and less than 2% were illiterate. (World Bank, 2016).

The programs we are proud of that have shown significant impact on youth are in Yemen and Sudan. Just as governments play a pivotal role, civil organizations play an influential role too, and since Silatech’s launch at the Alliance of Civilizations Conference, economic development has been an important part of its mission.

Hope Project: With a €5 million grant that was awarded to Silatech from the EU, the project seeks to achieve stability in Yemen through the empowerment of youth and women, and the achievement of financial inclusion for the vulnerable and marginalized groups in Yemen’s society as a method of prevention from extremism and terrorism.

Al Amal Project in Sudan: The first-of-its-kind counter-terrorism project in Sudan was implemented in partnership with the Supreme Council for Welfare & Intellectual Safeguard to reintegrate and rehabilitate 400 young people who have previously fallen prey to extremist ideologies.

Silatech’s model works to treat the underlying causes of violent extremism, to drain the sources of terrorism, to establish preventive measures, and to develop societies through addressing unemployment.

We work with all young people without discrimination or prejudice. We are interested in their reintegration into their communities should they fall prey to extremism, by helping them get a decent life, decent work, and opportunities for a brighter future.