Challenging Extremist Ideology, Propaganda and Messaging: Building the Counter-narrative

Categories: Dialogue Snapshots,Recent Reports,Regional Policy Dialogues

April 2015.

Violent extremism has been a predominant regional and global security challenge for several decades, but in recent years, it has become more attractive to disenfranchised people all over the world. A combination of theology, political ideology and media savvy messaging make groups like Daesh, Al Qaeda and al Shabab relevant and uniquely positioned to broadcast their vision on a global scale. While military actions continue to disrupt the efforts of violent extremist groups, countering the underlying ideology that drives these groups is critical to defeating their brand of violent extremism. This raises new questions of how one can prevent the rising influence of extremist groups. One way is to develop “counter-narratives” that challenge extremist ideology and then broadly disseminate these messages through online and offline means. But who should craft these counter-narratives and what is the best means for delivering their messages? What is the appeal of extremist ideology?

To assess these questions, the Hollings Center for International Dialogue and the EastWest Institute convened a roundtable dialogue in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 27-29, 2015. The 22 participants at the dialogue included current and former policy makers, activists, journalists, artists, practitioners and diplomats. Countries represented included Turkey, Tunisia, Belgium, Morocco, Pakistan, Lebanon, Serbia, Germany and the United States. Read more about these conversations in our Dialogue Snapshot below.

Also, watch videos that expand upon these themes, notably the challenges faced by the American Muslim community clicking here.

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