A Blueprint To Combat Recruitment & Reverse Radicalism ©
By Bridges to Common Ground; a U.S. based non-profit NGO
Real-world Solutions With over 20 years of field application, Bridges to Common Ground’s (BCG) “blueprint” has deployed UN peacekeepers in Darfur, ended conflicts in 7 countries, prompted the Gaddafi regime to denounce WMDs as well as turn over the Lockerbie terror suspects, and contributed to the release of over 50 Christian prisoners and hostages in Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Central African Republic. Wherever this strategy is applied, results are predictable and positive. The strategy is scalable and could play a key role in the larger effort to defeat radicalism.
The Problem After fifteen years, trillions spent and countless lives lost, terrorism still thrives in the Middle East & Africa. Additionally, DHS Secretary John Kelly confessed in April 2017 that “the greatest threat to the U.S. is homegrown terror,” but then surprisingly added, “I do not know how to stop that.” Policy makers agree that we cannot “kill our way out of it.”  It seems clear that the U.S. government lacks viable solutions to one of our greatest security challenges, which shows little sign of abating in light of ongoing terror attacks throughout the Western world.
The Fatal Flaw in the current strategy stems from declaring a war on a tactic: terrorism. The real enemy is radicalization of those who follow a distorted narrative of Islam, called Salafi Jihadism. It would be prudent to rethink our approach and declare war on radicalization itself. This declaration would not undermine on-going efforts to fight terror groups, but would more effectively address the underlying cause.
The Root of this radical ideology is a distorted religious paradigm that justifies radicalization. Out of a desire to adhere to the “separation of Church and State”, American and European policymakers have avoided or are perhaps ill-equipped to address the role of religion in the current conflict. Ignoring the role of faith and religion in addressing Islamic radicalization is foolish and will continue to prove ineffective.
BCG’s Strategic Blueprint undermines the ideological appeal of radicalization, which produces an endless flow of new recruits. This unique approach involves a blend of science, scholarship and faith. No force on earth can ultimately defeat this radical religious-fueled ideology unless key distortions are effectively counteracted at its very foundation.
(Siljander’s book) offers a blueprint for breaking this logjam of dissension that contributes to so much conflict today.
James Baker III,61st U.S. Secretary Of State
Our innovative “Fifth Track” strategy supports the traditional diplomatic, political, economic, and military tracks, and incorporates a religious or faith factor which is essential in developing a compelling counter-narrative to undermine the root cause of radicalization. The BCG blueprint uniquely blends breakthrough science, scholarship and faith to disrupt and reverse the radicalization process. There are indications that President Trump is receptive to such an approach. In May he celebrated the opening of the “Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology” in Saudi Arabia. Serious consideration should be given to incorporating this proposed anti-radicalization blueprint into the work of this new center, and that of policymakers worldwide.
The Faith Factor in the international arena BCG deploys teams utilizing a faith-based engagement strategy to stunning effect. Back home, primary factors that contribute to the “terror from within” are alienation and isolation, creating easy prey for Islamic distortions. BCG offers an array of high-impact initiatives to address this, such as “Community Action Programs” which work in conjunction with specialized educational tools - including an interactive “Toolkit” developed from decades of breakthrough research and field testing. BCG has also translated the Qur’an into modern English, featuring 3,000 comparative Bible verses designed to break long-standing bias and facilitate a more robust integration of Muslims into mainstream society and cooperation of the Muslim community in combating home-grown terror.
With this important new work, Mr. Siljander…builds a compelling case that any faithful reading of religion and its teachings should serve to unite, not divide.
Ban-Ki MOON,8th UN Secretary General
Three Awakenings are transforming the Muslim landscape. The first - a political awakening, evidenced by the Arab Spring - challenged political and religious authority. When political revolution failed to deliver real change, many have been drawn to a second awakening, seeking a new interpretation of Islam in harmony with the actual, peaceful claims of the Qur’anic text. Horrifically evil acts committed by Muslim extremists are fueling this movement, which is growing among the peaceful majority. Finally, countless millions of Muslims are experiencing a third, spiritual awakening toward the Messiah - not usually conversion to another religion, but toward a new spiritual path of peace and redemption. They are discovering a “straight path” of mercy and compassion. The West would be wise to embrace and empower these awakenings—taking action in our communities to replace fear and ignorance with reconciliation and justice.
I cannot overstate the importance of Mark’s strategic efforts to defuse the activities of radical Muslims worldwide. Many are convinced that he is on the cusp of what will prove literally to be the tipping point in realigning radical terrorist enemies.
Hon. Edwin Meese,U.S. Attorney General
Cost The entire, proposed War on Radicalization could yield quantifiable, long-term results for a mere fraction of the cost to the U.S. in comparison with recent expenditures. The Trump administration launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield; costing roughly $60 million. BCG brings politically seasoned leadership with the capacity to act as a special advisor in the war to undermine radicalism.
No army can stop an idea..
Mark Siljander, a former U.S. congressman & U.S./U.N. ambassador is author of the best-selling/award-winning book, A Deadly Misunderstanding; A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide (Harper One). It powerfully impacts the mind and heart, while demonstrating real-life resolution of war and complex crises, especially between the Abrahamic faiths. Mark’s successful peacemaking efforts serve as a foundation to his service as President of Bridges to Common Ground.