Preventing Radicalization and the Role of Community Colleges

The one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings is this week. This blog reminds us of the important role that community colleges have in fostering peacebuilding with ethnically and religiously diverse populations.

David J. Smith, JD, MS

Much has been reported lately about the backgrounds of the Tsarnaev brothers who are alleged to have committed the Boston Marathon bombings.   We now know much about their Chechen backgrounds, immigration to the U.S., and their life in Boston.  Both brothers attended college:  Dzhokhar, the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, and Tamerlan, Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).  In Tamerlan’s case, at the time of the bombings he was no longer a student at BHCC, which he had left to pursue a career in boxing.  At BHCC, he is reported to have studied engineering.

Community colleges today find themselves as the primary gateway for immigrant populations desiring to develop occupational competency, improve literacy skills, and overall assimilate into American society.  In Tamerlan’s case, little has been reported about his time at BHCC, but it appears that his purposes for being there matched those of many immigrants: preparing himself for a  successful…

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