Rabu, 13 April 2016

Countering Violent Extremism (english)

I would like to begin my short report by quoting testimony from Amina, (not real name), a young muslim woman from Birmingham who was attracked to go jihad. Amina said

“I attended a circle and learned about islam. I took a course outside university showing how muslim prosecuted in war. I was feeling so unjust. But no space to speak to. My family do not understand religion. I was angry and frustrated. ..."

Amina is not the only women in the UK, who are recruited, forcedly or volunteerily to joint with jihad in Syiria.  The Muslim Women Network (MWN), a national network of progressive muslim women in Birmingham, reported that currently there are around 300 up tp 700 people have committed to joint with Jihadist movement. Through hotline service called Domestic Violence Kills, the MWN is able to detect indications of some women who are experiencing Violence Against Women (VAW), but has relation with the agenda of jihadist.  Shaista, one of founder of MWN shared her personal experience dealing with Amina. She believes that by creating enabling enviroment, which a person like Amina feeling safe and secure in sharing her confused feelings over islamic teaching and miserable realities of muslim in the war situation, be always challenged her with critical response,  and no judgmental opinion over her thought or idea can be powerful to transform someone into peaceful mind. Shaista mentioned that feeling respected and treated equally became key elements  of success to bring a change inside Aminah.

The above story was one of my strong impression during exchange visit to the UK in learning Counter Violent Extremism policy and practices done by goverment and non goverment organization. The program was also aimed to open space for three countries to exchange their strengths an take lesson from the weakeness of CVE. There were ten representatiaves from goverment and on goverment organization in Malaysia and Indonesia, working on area surrounding to extremism, terrorism, fundamentalism, radicalisation etc. Three days visits from March, 14-16 in London and Birmingham gave me some important lessons that taken from different organizations we visited. 

Firstly, visiting to WMN opened wider spectrume of domestic violence link to extremism. Though there is no solid formula from MWN how to handle this issues, but from Aminah’s story should  open a conversation about gender and extremism, which might not yet been explored by CVE program or under issues of women, peace and security. The experience of WMN clearly shows the relation of gender issues with CVE.

Secondly, visiting to the Feast, a youth organization that focus to facilitate exchange among youth of inter faiths. This is the most innovative youth program that combining creative and innovative action with serious session on inter faith dialogues. Unlike other organization that avoiding discussing about theological aspect of religions, The Feast facilitates inter faiths youth to enter a dangerous dialogue about their faiths. The impact is encouraging youth and parents to revisit their religion and begin to dig more knowledge about their own religion. However, getting permission from the parents is biggest challenge for this program. It it because some parents are still thinking that inter faiths dialogue may create a space of convertion. In fact, youth are getting more curious about their own faiths. 

Thirdly, I was amazed with the idea of having collaborative innitiative, in which faith-based organizations created a permanent alliance to support each other called The Collaboration House is located in London City as common house for inter faiths communities. The big challenge of faith based organization is dealing with distrust. Nowdays, it is not easy to engage people of faith community to joint with social activities, therefore the Collaboration House can help to reach out the audience. Moreover, It is also helpful in generating funds from different resources when small organisation come together in the alliance. 

Fourthly, from the department of home affair, CVE becomes priority program that the UK goverment would like to put more resources. There are four strategies that are implementing by goverment and also engage civil socities organizations. They area countering extremist idelogy, Building a parnerhsip with all those opposed to extremism, Disrupting extremists, Building more cohesive communities. From the sharing of department of research it is obvious that the UK is still formulating the strategy of Counter Non Violent Extremism. Because these groups are indicating to spread Islamic teaching that raise hatred and provoke to do jihad. The Home Office Minister, Tariq Ahmad strong addressed that UK would like to learn from Indonesia and Malaysia how to create social cohesion and counter theology, therefore the program will continue to shape more concreate joint program between UK, Malaysia and Indonesia. Other lesson that we learnt is about linking with other relevant regulations such as Hate Crime Law in the UK. In one side is able to control destructive and discriminative behavior of people, but the other side this may violent freedom for expression. 

Fifthly, visiting to MediaStage was crucial for the movement of CVE, knowing that social media has been using by extrimist to spread their narrow-minded teaching of Islam, their propaganda of their “jihad” and recruitment process. The role of media like MediaStage to provide capacity building for CSO dealing with social media, is crucial and definitely is able to increase positive influence to public. It is very significant to provide counter narrative in the social media relating to propaganda of jihad. Moreover, MediaStage is also helping CSO in repack their message which is more attractive to people. Muslim Women Network (MWN) is one of CSO benefiting their skill to create hotlines on VAW that is very attractive and easy called “Domestic Violence Kills”. 

There are some challenges that perhaps need to counter such as; 1) protective factors where law enforcement does not enough without fulfilling the basic rigths of people,because one of root causes of extremism is lack of access to basic need provided by goverment. 2) Non violent extremism need to be formulated with clear definition and indicator. So, this will not against freedom of expression but it is also necessary to build mitigation approach to response Non Violent Extremism. With the experience of UK and the story of AMinah, an organization like Hisbuth Tahrir need to be responded serious without violating their rigths to freedom of expression. 3) Gender Analysis must be intergrated into framework of CVE. The evidence provided by MWN in Birmingham shows clearly that women play significant roles in recruitment, as middle person, as well as supporter to Jihad. Especially, currently country like Indonesia is implementing resolution 1325 about women, peace and security, which need to elaborate more with CVE.

Some suggestions for future follow up can be: 

  1. Joint program between alumni of IVEP program, especially to promote progressive Islam reference in UK.
  2. Seminar on CVE, including Gender and CVE can be one of alternative to engage the alumni and also concerned organizations and individuals so exchange and update relating to CVE is happening 
  3. Joint-Project on translation of progressive Islam resources in English. It is possible to create online joint resources for Progressive Islam with different languages in order to promote progresive tafsir/ interpretation of Islamic teaching. 

Summary Report of Exchange Program on CVE
Prepared by Ruby Khalifah, dwiruby@amanindonesia.org 

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