A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

START researcher Michele Gelfand and former TRA Sarah Lyons-Padilla present on Capitol Hill

On Feb. 5, Dr. Michele Gelfand, a UMD Professor of Psychology who has worked on several START projects pertaining to radicalization and deradicalization, and Dr. Sarah Lyons-Padilla, currently a Research Scientist iEvidence-based Strategies for Preventing Homegrown Radicalizationn the Department of Psychology at Stanford University and former START Terrorism Research Awardee (TRA), presented on Capitol Hill regarding evidence-based strategies for preventing homegrown radicalization.

The pair spent a full day on the Hill, meeting with a variety of house and senate offices and attending a lunch seminar, where they provided a presentation to an audience of approximately 100 staffers. The two prepared a fact sheet for the presentation outlining the current state of domestic radicalization as it relates to the refugee crisis in Syria, as well as policy implications and recommendations for best steps forward.

The full report, Belonging Nowhere: Marginalization and Radicalization Risk Among Muslim Immigrants, appears in Behavioral Science and Policy, an international, peer-reviewed journal.

“To address the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in American society, we presented our research showing that marginalizing and discriminating against Muslim immigrants can actually give rise to radicalization by creating the psychological conditions that increase the appeal of fundamentalist groups and extreme ideologies,” Lyons-Padilla said. “It was a unique opportunity to convene in a space where we could share important research with Congressional staff, representatives of various federal agencies, and other social science researchers who are working on finding solutions to this problem.”

The research was based in part on Lyons-Padilla research as a START TRA, “Experiences of the Excluded: Uncovering the Psychology of Homegrown Terrorism,” under the mentorship of Gelfand. The START TRA program is supported by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs.


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