With the threat of terrorism in our lives increasing, some experts are worried that indoctrination programs could be putting people at risk of becoming extremists.
In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, David Goyer, president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, explains why he thinks the indoctrination software program that he founded is likely to be the most effective tool for stopping extremism.
“There are many programs that are already out there, but the problem is that they’re focused on the very people who would use the program to indoctrinate others, and they’re also targeted at the very specific populations that they are trying to target,” Goyer says.
“The problem is there’s a lot of people who are on the fringe, but there’s also a lot who are more extreme.”
Goyer says he thinks indoctrination is a good tool for reducing extremism.
But the problem with the indoctrinate-only approach is that it’s focused on a very specific group of people, so the programs can’t really help everyone, he adds.
“You don’t have a huge group of extremists, but you do have people who have radical views, and those views are very extreme.
If you have a program focused on people who hold extreme views, they are going to be much more likely to end up becoming extremists,” Gowler says.
That’s why the Goyer Institute for Religious Liberty is currently developing a program that targets people who say they want to “understand Islam” but “have very strong opinions about Islam.”
“The people who we’re targeting are the people who feel strongly about the ideas that we’re trying to convey,” Goyers says.
The program is designed to give people a chance to say “I understand Islam,” and that’s what we’re doing with the first batch of people we’re aiming at.
We have two questions that people can answer in order to get into the program.
First, we ask them if they are religious and if they have been in the United States for five years.
If they answer yes to that, they get in.
We then ask them whether they are Muslim and if that answer is yes, they can participate.
“We want to get people in the program who are going, ‘I understand my religion, I understand what I believe, and I understand that I am part of this community,'” Goyer explains.
The second question is a more general one.
In order to join the program, the person needs to be Muslim, or believe in Islam, and the more specific question is “Do you want to learn more about Islam?”
“If you are willing to do that and you’re willing to say, ‘Yes, I do,’ that’s a great start.
If the answer is no, then we will give you the tools to learn,” Goys says.
If the person doesn’t want to join, Goyer advises them to “just keep asking the questions.”
“If we find a good, qualified person, then it’s very simple to get them in,” Goya says.
“I think there are a lot more of us who don’t think Islam is important, but we just want to be heard and we want to understand what the issue is,” he adds, noting that this is a great way to show that Islam is not the problem.
Goyer has been working on the project for the last year and says it’s been a long road.
“For us to actually do this, it was a very long road,” he says.
But he believes it will work and that the people he’s targeting will be more receptive to the program than those he’s not targeting.
“When I say this is very long-term, it’s not a one-year project,” Goyal says.