The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy has developed significant experience in training religious leaders, and imams in particular, since 2011 in order to contribute to the creation of a moderate Islamic discourse. The Canadian Government has expressed its confidence in the Center’s work by funding the Hand in Hand project to combat extremism and terrorism, which takes place over a period of 18 months, starting in March 2017.
The project aims to combat extremism and terrorism, dismantle the foundations of extremist religious discourse and develop and disseminate modern and moderate Islamic thought. The project focuses on five regions of Tunisia - Greater Tunis, Bizerte, Kairouan, Kasserine and Medenine.
The project strengthens the role of local religious actors in confronting the phenomenon of violent extremism through dismantling its strategies and mechanisms, and training themin communication, conflict resolution and citizenship. The project aims to create a new generation that is aware of the dangers of violent extremism, which threatens international security and social cohesion.
The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy will implement this project through 47 training workshops, 10 media campaigns and 11 awareness campaigns, which are divided as follows:
Training of trainers workshops
• One Training of Trainers Workshop on conflict management techniques and conflict resolution
• One Training of Trainers Workshop on the relationship between Islam, citizenship and democracy
• Five training workshops on modern communication tools (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.)
• 20 training workshops(four in each of the target regions) on techniques for managing diversity and preventing extremism
• 20training workshops for 400 religious leaders on the relationship between Islam, citizenship and democracy (4 workshops in each region)
In the media field, 10 study days will be organized for religious actors, including those from the scientific school of Salafism. The study days will address key issues in Islamic and Qur'anic education (non-violence, freedom of opinion and conscience, women's rights, minority rights, jihad in Islam, management of different views).
The contents of the study days will be used to prepare a series of pamphlets on the main topics above, to emphasize the positive relationship between Islam and contemporary universal values, as well as 10 short video clips on social media sites, dealing with the same topics.
The project will also seek to raise awareness through the production and dissemination of a short film containing testimonies from the families of victims of terrorist attacks and the families of terrorist fighters abroad (dissemination via the project Facebook page and CSID’s YouTube channel).
In addition, 10 panel discussions will be held with various stakeholders at the local level (the families of terrorist fighters abroad, families of victims of terrorist attacks, local government representatives, local religious leaders, teachers, psychologists and sociologists) on the dangers of violent extremism and advice for families in which a young person has adopted extremist views or is in the course of adopting violent extremist behavior. The recommendations from these discussions will be disseminated in the form of a booklet issued by the Center.
Finally, the Center will run an awareness campaign in the five target regions over a period of two months. The campaign will include distribution of 20,000 booklets to mosque-goers after Friday prayers and the screening of the short film produced by the project at regional youth centers.