White Paper for Interreligious Collaboration & Policy Making in Addressing Radicalization & Violent Extremism
To read and download the full White Paper in Arabic and English
In recent years, international efforts to deal with violent extremism have expanded to encompass not just the countering of violent extremism (CVE), in a security context, but also the prevention of violent extremism (PVE).
Religious communities and religious leaders have been identified by the UN as playing a crucial role in PVE. Key tasks identified in this context include: providing a platform for intra and inter-religious dialogue; promoting mutual understanding between religions; vocally rejecting violence doctrines while espousing peaceful and humanitarian values; preserving the heritage of cultural and religious diversity; guarding against religious-based discrimination or intolerance and sharing good practice.
This paper is based on an integrative approach involving experts, community actors and grassroots leaders and activists from the international scene.
The aim is to build resilience in the face of terrorist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) and Boko Haram as well as other types of violent extremism including Neo- Nazis groups. The frame here is the phenomenon of radicalization leading to violent extremism and the role religion(s) can have in helping to address the issue.
An inter-religious or multi-religious approach to PVE can ensure greater effectiveness in countering extremism because it removes stigma or blame, and facilitates a more open, beneficial discussion about the issues faced. Such a collaborative, integrative approach is also a deliberate counter to the extremist agenda of discrimination, isolation, destruction and hate.
This white paper aims to encourage and generate discussions needed for policies and initiatives to make strategic collaboration a reality. It is an open, proactive process to be continuously enriched and updated based on evolving experience and expertise.
The paper comprises three sections:
- The first looks at the concept of extremism and the radicalization process.
- The second explores the relationship between religion and extremism.
- The third identifies four priority areas for interreligious collaboration in addressing radicalization and extremism, while highlighting existing good practices and initiatives that could be amplified and built upon.
Priority Area 1: Strengthening social cohesion through the promotion of Religious Social Responsibility within each community.
Priority Area 2: Fostering literacy about religions and promoting education on citizenship inclusive of cultural and religious diversity.
Priority Area 3: Promoting an existential narrative rather than an essentialist one in response to extremism, especially through the media.
Priority Area 4: Reforming and developing the existing interreligious platforms for dialogue and common civic engagement for shared public life values and for interfaith compassion and solidarity, especially among the youth.