German Institute on Radicalization
and De-radicalization Studies


Welcome to the new homepage of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies (GIRDS). As the first German research and network initiative focusing solely on the theory and practice of de-radicalization and counter-radicalization GIRDS is completely non-profit and independent. We are not institutionally bound and do not follow any partisan politics. GIRDS can be seen as transparent network of experts both from practical backgrounds and the academia aiming to foster the theoretical and practical development of de-radicalization methods, evaluation tools, training manuals, and concepts. GIRDS is open to all interested practitioners and researchers and we encourage you to contact us if you would like to participate and join us in striving for a free exchange of experiences and ideas to make de-radicalization and counter-radicalization more effective and sustainable.
GIRDS is also the only German network in the field certified by the ISDEP standard in recognizing radicalization and appropriate intervention. Daniel Koehler, Founder and Director

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Official Mothers for Life Chapter Started in UK

On Monday November 21st 2016 one of our Mothers for Life – Nicola Benyahia – went public to tell the world about her story and how she lost her son to ISIS. In this extraordinary and multimedia BBC piece she also announced her new family counseling Project Families for Life, which is the first fully trained CVE family counseling program in the UK and an official chapter of our unique global Mothers for Life Network. Nicola was personally trained by our Director Daniel Koehler to conduct counseling in counter-radicalization and will spearhead our efforts to build strong and high quality deradicalization programs in the United Kingdom.

New Publication on Right-Wing Terrorism Based on Our Database

Published by Routledge the currently most extensive study on right-wing terrorism in Germany based on our unique Database on Terrorism in Germany is now available for ordering. The study has already received international praise:

One would have thought that German academics after 1945 would make right-wing political violence a major object of study – if only for the reason of history not repeating itself. However, avoidance of, rather than focus on, terrorism from the far right has been the reality. Now, 70 years after the defeat of National-Socialism, there is finally a longitudinal empirical analysis of political violence from the right. Based on a comprehensive database and a solid conceptual framework, Daniel Koehler has tested – and found wanting – the two most widely used theories on the phenomenon and thereby cleared the ground for a new understanding of what unfortunately is likely to be a rising phenomenon. A remarkable achievement – and long overdue.

Prof. em. Alex P. Schmid, Director, Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI); Editor-in-Chief, Perspectives on Terrorism (PT); Research Fellow, International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague

Daniel Koehler has written an important and timely book on a critical dimension of terrorism studies that lamentably has received insufficient attention: extreme right-wing violence in Europe. His focus on Germany sheds light on the motives, networks, aspirations and the threat posed by this small, but ambitiously lethal and stubbornly persistent entity. This excellent work is noteworthy for to the thoroughness of the author’s research, the compelling analysis he presents and unsettling conclusions he reaches.

Professor Bruce Hoffman, Director, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University, USA

Daniel Koehler’s new book is the most comprehensive study available on right-wing terrorism in Germany and also an important contribution to research on right-wing terrorism in general. His conceptual clarity and comprehensive collection of data makes for an admirable work of scholarship.

Prof. Dr. Tore Bjørgo, Director of Center for the Study of Extremism: Right-Wing Extremism, Hate Crime and Political Violence (C-REX), University of Oslo, Norway

Daniel Köhler has written the most comprehensive account to date of right-wing terrorism in post-WWII Germany. The German case is critically important, not only because of its historical legacies, but also because Germany remains Western Europe’s definitive hotbed when it comes to contemporary right-wing militancy and violence. Köhler effectively sheds light on key actors and events from the past, while at the same time demonstrating that right-wing terrorism has become a continuous yet conceptually and legally elusive type of threat in Germany and beyond – a threat that will require more attention in the future.

Jacob Assland Ravndal,Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX), University of Oslo, Norway

GIRDS Contracted to Design New Deradicalization Program in the United States

On March 2, 2016 District Judge Michael Davis of the Federal Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) ordered the risk and deradicalization assessment of four detainees who wanted to travel to Syria and join the “Islamic State”. For this assessment Judge Davis requested the services of GIRDS Director Daniel Koehler, who is one of the world’s most recognized experts in this field. In addition to the assessment Judge Davis asked Mr. Koehler to provide unique training for probation officers in order to design a new deradicalization program in Minnesota, which has seen the highest number of foreign fighter related cases in the United States.

This approach is the first time in the history of the United States and will introduce a complete new strategy in dealing with home-grown radicalization with the assistance of GIRDS. Our experts will be deeply involved in designing and implementing the program, as German expertise on the field of deradicalization has been made internationally recognized by the work of GIRDS and other organizations.

We are deeply honored by the expressed trust of Judge Michal Davis and will do our best to spread deradicalization and early intervention methods in the United States of America.

Read more about the project in this article from the Associated Press.