Is There a Role for Religious Actors in Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism?

The Network of Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, Finn Church Aid, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) will host the “Religious Actors Combatting Radicalization and Violent Extremism Symposium,” in Washington, DC and New York City on the 24th-30th September.

This symposium is bringing together nearly two dozen selected religious leaders, scholars and actors from around the world, including Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Syria and Libya who have been very involved in combatting violent extremism in their own communities.

Recent events in Iraq and Syria underscore the devastating impact of violent extremism. In fact, it is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, affecting many regions and threatening to destabilize the global community. Efforts to counter violent extremism require strategic and sensitive approaches that take into account its myriad drivers and encourage collaboration across many sectors.

While civil society has an important role to play in countering violent extremism, religious actors are particularly well positioned to address some of its root causes, particularly in areas in which extremism is couched in religious terms.

Public event

On September 26th, USIP will host a public event in Washington featuring three panelists from the Symposium, who will present key insights drawn from the workshop and their own experiences.

Speakers include:

H.E. Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, President
Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, United Arab Emirates

Pastor Esther Ibanga, President
Women Without Walls Initiative, Nigeria  Founder & Pastor, Jos Christian Missions International

Vinya Ariyaratne General Secretary
Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka

Georgia Holmer, Moderator Deputy Director
Rule of Law Center

Survey on Radicalization and Al Shabaab recruitment in Somalia

Finn Church Aid, ISS and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers conveyed a study on radicalization and Al Shabaab recruitment in Somalia. Researchers interviewed former al-Shabaab fighters and identified a complex array of reasons for why they joined the organisation.

The results of this survey will be published in the press conference which is being held alongside with the events in Washington DC.

You can register for the public event via USIP webpages