Family and marriage can reduce the risk of young people becoming radicalized, according to a report due to be presented to a ministerial conference in Saudi Arabia.
The report by the Ankara-based Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), which has been seen by Anadolu Agency, draws on earlier research to "contribute [to] efforts… to preserve family and marital values".
It has been prepared for delegates at a two-day Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Jeddah on Thursday.
Safeguarding Family Values and the Institution of Marriage in OIC countries notes how family and marital life and values in the Muslim world have been changing in recent decades.
One finding is that political socialization during childhood and adolescence makes people less vulnerable to the "propaganda of new ideologies".
Citing a 2014 study by the German Institute for Economic Research, the report says children who lack political guidance from parents are "more susceptible to be influenced by political rhetoric and propaganda, including that of aberrant and violent ideologies."
"These findings suggest that political functions of family and marital union are especially indispensable for the OIC member countries, given the prevalence of political conflict, political violence and the malaise of violent extremism in these countries," the report notes.
It adds that studies in OIC countries have highlighted the "potent role of family in preventing the youth from being allured into extremist ideologies and movements."
A 2015 RAND Corporation study looking at the factors that led young people in the West Bank to reject violent extremism emphasized the role played by family. Meanwhile, a 2009 book, Political Parties and Terrorist Groups, found that suicide bombers had fewer family ties than other terrorists and concluded that family ties moderated radicalization.
Another study from 2007 in Palestine found that married individuals were less likely to participate in terrorism, the report adds.
"Family and marriage… can have an important dampening influence on radicalization," the report says.
It urges policymakers "to take a more serious approach to the unique role and position of family in reinstituting political stability and combating extremism."
SESRIC's report makes a number of broad policy recommendations, such as addressing poverty and hunger and helping families mitigate the negative impacts of migration.
It also calls for the work-family balance to be respected, especially for women, through schemes such as flexible working and promoting family businesses, as well as supporting "responsible parenthood" and helping to manage "global influences" on young people.
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