SINGAPORE - A group of officials and scholars working to fight terrorism will be part of a new platform to share experiences on rehabilitating and reintegrating terrorists.
The Strategies on Aftercare and Reintegration (SOAR) Network was launched on Friday, at the end of the two-day East Asia Summit (EAS) Symposium on Religious Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration.
It will focus on three areas: countering radical propaganda online and on social media, helping to immunise communities against extremism, and rehabilitating and reintegrating those who have been radicalised.
Its Facebook page is now up and running, and will engage over 500 delegates from 30 countries who participated in the EAS Symposium, said Professor Rohan Gunaratna, who heads the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR).
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The network will build on discussions at the two-day meeting, "but expand beyond this to strengthen the hands of the community, state, and other organisations to counter the current and emerging wave of extremism and terrorism", he added.
Besides linking up groups from around the world, the network will also act as a repository of information, allowing officials and scholars to tap into a rich pool of resources.
The network is managed by the centre, which is part of the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University.
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, RSIS' executive deputy chairman, said communication among those working to counter extremism, as well as engaging the wider community in such efforts, were important in helping tackle the threat.
Collaboration was also key, he said.
"We have to look for partners and the challenges that we have here cannot be done and solved by only one person and one country," he added.
The network's current partners include the Kabul-based Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies as well as Singapore's Religious Rehabilitation Group which counsels terror detainees, and the Inter-Agency Aftercare Group which consists of Malay/Muslim community organisations that help the families of those detained and works to reintegrate those who have been released.
"Our focus is on building capacity on the ground. Collaboration and sharing of knowledge and expertise is key, and this is a step towards that," said Prof Rohan.