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Developing practical tools to assess trends in radicalisation and its socio-political drivers

In the context of the 2015 attacks in Paris and Brussels, the term “radicalisation” has become a popular buzzword capturing the attention of scholars and practitioners around the world. As these and subsequent attacks suggest, radicalisation phenomena are developing and changing at high speed, with their extreme forms manifested globally. While academic knowledge on the issue is growing, scholars, policy makers and other stakeholders more than ever need innovative and actionable tools to identify trends and monitor developments related to radicalisation, violent extremism, and relevant socio-political factors.

CSD works at the forefront of providing the evidence base and developing effective methods to better understand and monitor radicalisation processes and assess risk factors to violent extremism. CSD developed practitioner-level tools and methods for early identification and monitoring of radicalisation risks as the basis for designing tailored interventions, especially in countries with limited previous experience in addressing radicalisation issues, such as countries from East and Southeast Europe. In collaboration with practitioners and experts, CSD elaborated a Framework of Risk Indicators for early warning signs of radicalisation , as well as a methodology for Situational Assessment of Extremist Trends. The two instruments are included in the Catalogue of Promising Practices of the Radicalisatiom Awareness Network (RAN).

While a wide range of similar tools have been produced across the EU to support policy-makers and practitioners in their efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism, many European states struggle to cope with the challenges intersecting polarisation, religious intolerance, migrant integration and radicalisation. In this context, the connection between state-religion relations, governance of religious diversity and religious radicalisation processes is little understood. Potential models and innovative solutions for the European context may emerge through learning from experiences of governing religious diversity in non-European socio-economic and geopolitical contexts, such as countries with pronounced historical religious diversity, predominantly Muslim countries or predominantly migrant pluralist nations.

The GREASE Indicators Toolkit, developed by CSD in cooperation with researchers and eminent scholars from Europe, South & Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific and the MENA region, aims to capture trends in political secularism, religious pluralism, violent religious radicalisation (and efforts to address it). As a self-assessment tool for stakeholders, the Toolkit provides a handy way for identifying trends within a country and across countries in order to simplify complex academic knowledge in a policy-relevant way.

The indicators toolkit is part of the GREASE project, which is investigating how religious diversity is governed in over 23 countries around the world. It sheds light on how different societies cope with the challenge of integrating religious minorities and migrants. Moreover, the research compares norms, laws and practices that may (or may not) prove useful in preventing religiously inspired radicalisation. The overall aim is to deepen our understanding of how religious diversity can be governed successfully, with an emphasis on countering radicalisation trends.

GREASE Indicators Toolkit provides a framework for assessing, comparing, and monitoring countries and world regions in terms of four key vectors. Each vector is measured by group of metrics, combined in a single composite indicator:

Each composite indicator above is comprised of a number of measurable metrics specific to it. For more details on the GREASE Indicators Toolkit, please visit:,,

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