Google is to co-host a Dublin conference for over fifty former violent extremists including Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis and drugs gang members.

The Irish Times reports that a Summit Against Violent Extremism will take place in the city from June 26th to 29th.

The web giant is to co-host the event via its new ‘think/do tank’ scheme called Google Ideas.

The June conference is the brainchild of the US think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations and is designed to generate new and innovative ways to address the threat posed by radicalization.

The seminar will be attended and address by victims of terrorism, diplomats, academics, civil society organizations and the private sector.

Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen told the Irish Times: “This is our first public event and part of the reason why we are doing this is that radicalization is a really tough challenge that we face.

“Dublin was chosen as the location because of its positive experience of dealing with violent extremism in the Northern Ireland peace process. It is also centrally located for participants, who will travel from all over the world to attend.”

A key role at the seminar will be played by the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.

The Wicklow centre has been invited to share its experience in working with former paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.

“Symbolically Ireland’s experience with violent extremism has been one that we have seen has proven to be important,” added Cohen.

The seminar will feature key note speeches from several former radicals who have subsequently renounced extremism and are working to prevent radicalization.

Those signed up for the Dublin included former neo-Nazi TJ Leyden who has set up a foundation to combat bigotry and Maajid Nawaz, a former member of the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Susan Cruz, a former member of one of the most notorious Latino gangs in Los Angeles, will also address the Dublin conference.

“The idea that the children who join the drugs gangs in the US are different to those children attracted to religious extremist groups, and who end up as suicide bombers, is wrong,” stated Cruz.

“They may dress different, their language may be different but fundamentally deep down inside the child that joins a gang is the same child that joins a militia or an extremist religious group. They are all looking for the same things.”

Google is also interested to examine how technology is used by extremist groups to recruit members and by pro-democracy demonstrators in North Africa and the Middle East.


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