Formulation of a holistic counter-narrative against Jihadi terrorism and radicalization

After major Jihadist attacks, religious, social, and political figures often come together and stress the need for an effective counter-narrative that drains the Jihadist cause of its “excitement”, “glory”, and “nobility.” Even though counter-terrorism and de-radicalization require multivariate efforts, formulating proper counter-narratives that discredit and disprove ISIS’s propaganda is, perhaps, as important as military operations.

Constructing an effective counter-narrative is no easy task, though. Many are the dilemmas that range from freedom of speech to integration, coexistence, cultural alienation, demagogic effects, etc. Respectful of the intricacy of the matter in question, we ask students to select a wider domain (political, cultural, economic, military, historical, and religious) and try to challenge the claims made by the ISIS and other Jihadist groups.

For instance, if one chooses the religious domain, then students should ponder over all aspects linked to the role of violence in Islam, Islamic religious tenets, relationship between Islam and the West, theories of globalization and political Islam, and theories of integration and coexistence.

In addition to the information on how to write policy papers, here are a few suggestions on what to focus in this scenario:

  1. Definition: Narrative / Terrorism / Radicalization
  2. Background: Brief assessment of what the claims of the terrorists are
  3. Organization’s main interest/objective: depending on the selected role, identify your organization’s main objective
  4. Pre-existing policies: what has been done to address the terrorists’ rhetoric and narrative?

 ©Michele Groppi, all rights reserved.