Community Cohesion and Countering Violent Extremism: Interfaith Activism and Policing Methods in Metro Detroit
Keywords:Countering violent extremism, Metro Detroit, Interfaith, Policing
Areas within Metro-Detroit, USA have been called “Shariaville” or labelled as containing “no-go zones” and yet the area lacks a definitive issue with radicalization. This article examines this gap between perceptions and reality of Metro Detroit by reflecting upon notions of community as experienced by community members and how that connects with ongoing debates regarding the role of community in countering violent extremism (CVE). Based on fieldwork conducted in Metro Detroit, this paper outlines two overlooked mechanisms that strengthen a multicultural community. This includes interfaith dialogue and activism as well as an emphasis on community methods. This article argues that mechanisms that strengthen community cohesion builds resilient societies which then remain uninterested in radicalization. Metro Detroit was chosen as the basis for this work due to its extremely diverse ethnic and religious populations, yet relatively low numbers of radicalized community members. Ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with key community members indicated a strong network of interfaith organizations and activism within Metro Detroit. Furthermore, law enforcement prioritizes policing at the community level while respecting the cultural norms and values of the diverse population. This article suggests that building on processes such as interfaith dialogues and effective community policing creates contexts within communities where violent extremism becomes less of a concern.
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