Recently, we have been witnessing a new phenomenon – key figures in the Islamic world, who in the past took part in armed Jihad or at least ideologically supported it, are now working to counter the radicalization process and to minimize recruitment to terrorist organizations. This phenomenon is known as “retraction”.
This phenomenon of “retraction” reflects a targeted effort, particularly on the part of authorities within the Muslim world, to harness the Islamic sources being used for radical indoctrination and to instead employ them as tools for fighting Islamic extremism.
The de-radicalization process is not new. Throughout the Muslim world, there are and have been rehabilitation programs, some of which are controversial as to their degree of success. For example, over the last two years, a de-radicalization process has taken place in Libya, led by Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, resulting in the LIFG (Libyain Islamic Fighting Group) organization declaring its abandonment of the path of Jihad. At this point in time, however, it is still too early to estimate the success of the de-radicalization process in Libya or how this process will impact Al-Qaeda’s conduct and activities in the Maghreb.