2016 RESOLVE Forum Flashback: Keynote Speaker Dr. Simon Cottee
The inaugural 2016 RESOLVE Network Global Forum brought together over 200 researchers, policymakers, and practitioners for a full day conference showcasing the thought-leadership of RESOLVE’s Network Partners, honing in on issues of governance, legitimacy, religious discourse, and identity. Panel topics emerged from the newly published Network working paper “Building Consensus and Setting Priorities for Research on Violent Extremism,” which identified ten priority countries and avenues of investigation into violent extremism. The agenda included a diverse lineup of experts from across disciplines.
Dr. Simon Cottee, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Kent, delivered an afternoon keynote session delving into the results of his research on the experiences of ex-Muslims: "The Apostates.” Focusing on the experiences of ex-Muslims from the UK and Canada, Cottee details the long and costly process experienced by those departing the faith. Those who confided to their families and close networks did not experience violence, but a crippling ex-communication and condemnation from the only community they have ever known. All used the term “closeted” to describe their lives as secret ex-Muslims. Leaving Islam is not a singular decision, but a process that takes place over months or years. Another key finding from the research: extremist radicalization shows many of the same characteristics.
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