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Steve Chalke calls for positive radicalisation

Wed 17 Feb 2016
By Sam Hailes

The founder and leader of the Oasis Network, Revd Steve Chalke, is calling on Christians to radicalise young people with a positive message.

Speaking on Premier Christian Radio's Inspirational Breakfast programme, Mr Chalke said he was "radicalised into a good story" when he became a Christian.

"When I was 14 I was fortunate enough to wander into a youth club in a Baptist church. They looked like cool people. I wanted to be like them. They talked about justice and Jesus and I was radicalised by their message. I was radicalised into a good story."

"Once you've been radicalised into one good story of peace and justice, how can you possibly be radicalised again into a bad one? Nature abhors a vacuum."

Speaking of the Church, Mr Chalke said, "We've got to be really clear about our message and what it means in real terms and real English - rather than Christian jargon - that actually changes a young person's life and gives them hope. Hope beyond turning up on a Sunday and singing songs but hope for their lives, career and employment. Radicalise them into a story that's worth living by."

Mr Chalke also criticised the government's counter-terrorism strategy, comparing the "Prevent" program to a game of "spot the terrorist".

"We have a strategy in this country called Prevent. It's like playing spot the terrorist. Spotting a kid with a problem and doing something about it. What we need to do to really prevent is give something positive to inspire young people into a different kind of positive life."

He argued that when young people are trapped in poverty and feel like their voice is not heard, preachers can sell them a "twisted and warped story" which can lead to radicalisation.

"We have to work to understand why people are radicalised rather than demonising them. The people radicalised are not evil. They've been sold a twisted and warped story."

Listen to Revd Steve Chalke speaking on Premier's Inspirational Breakfast show.

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