Hand in hand" Project aims to contribute to the neutralization of the discourse of violent extremism and the ideological mobilization of a religious nature preached by the Salafist jihadist movement, which is the basis of the enlistment of Tunisian youth as a foreign terrorist fighter (CTE), by providing local religious actors with means needed to strengthen the flexibility capacity of their communities through training workshops, awareness campaigns and training activities.
The project is being implemented in five target areas identified as priorities by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, where youths are suffering from a dangerous social situation and are experiencing serious problems of violent radicalization: Tunis (Bon lieu), Bizerte, Kairouan, Kasserine, and Medenine (Ben Guerdane).
There are three levels of ongoing project implementation:
1) Strengthen the capacity of local religious actors opposed to violent extremism in communication, conflict resolution, and citizenship;
2) counter the rhetoric of violent extremism through the development and dissemination of a targeted and structured counter-argument
3) raise awareness among the local population about the risks and dangers of violent extremism and the warning signs of violent radicalization.
Through actively involving local actors involved in the fight against violent extremism, in particular Imams, the preferred vector of religious discourse, and by conducting awareness campaigns directly in mosques, especially during the Friday preaching, the project has Iaque directly at the source of the phenomenon, taking on space violent ideological propaganda.
The main technical and financial partner for this project is the Canadian government and our national partner is the Department of Religious Affairs. The project started in March 2017 and will end in September 2018.
The first category of activities under the project includes 47 Training and capacity-building workshops for religious actors, including 2 training and workshops for 20 religious leaders. One deals with conflict management techniques and the other with the relationship between Islam, citizenship, and democracy.
To date, a total of 25 trainers have been trained, including 13 in conflict management and 12 in Islam, citizenship, and democracy.
In addition, 45 training workshops for 400 religious leaders are being carried out, 20 of which focus on the relationship between Islam, citizenship, and democracy, 20 on conflict management and violence prevention techniques, and 10 on mastering modern communication tools (FB, Twitter, etc.).
The second category of activities concerns information campaigns.
The key themes of these campaigns are:
・ Disagreement ethics in Islam (Ijtihad)
・ education role and education in the fight against extremism
・ Minority rights in Islam
・ The civil dimension of Islam
・ Women's rights in Islam
・ Freedom of opinion and belief in Islam
・ The rejection of violence in Islam
・ The Contextualization of Jihad in Islam
・ Preaching speech
・ The foundations of violent extremist discourse
Within the framework of these campaigns, 10 days of studies have been carried out, at the rate of two days per target region, and 30,000 information leaflets on the various themes mentioned above have been and will be distributed in the target regions.
In addition, 10 videos, all on the same themes, were produced and posted on social networks and the website and were viewed more than 938,000 times.
Finally, the final focus of the project, which is currently being implemented, is awareness-raising campaigns that include:
Five focus groups with the participation of various local stakeholders (CTE families, local state representatives, local religious leaders, teachers, psychologists, and sociologists) on the signs of radicalization among young people
Distribution of 20,000 awareness leaflets on signs of violent radicalization
The elaboration and projection-debate of a short film of family testimonies victims and of CTE in the different regional youth homes.
Further achievements were also made as part of the project, although they were not originally planned. For example, a new website dedicated to the project, Page 2 of 4, was launched in November 2017 and is accessible from the following address: www.yed-fel-yed.org
A Facebook page - Hand in Hand was also created and now has more than 18,000 followers and 630,000 interactions per month.
A new training manual on Islam, citizenship and democracy, conflict management techniques and leadership and communication for imams and religious leaders was also developed, along with a guidance guide
aimed at deconstructing violent rhetoric by offering an alternative discourse to extremist propaganda. This guide is available in two versions. One, long and richly documented, and the second, short and allege and is intended for all religious actors. It contains key concepts, Koranic references, a new reading of the founding texts, and practical cases.
Finally, an assemblage containing 12 models of preaching and intended to assist the imams for the weekly sermon, both in content and methodology was also developed. Among the themes are: dismissal of the charge of
distrust, education, science and awareness, the civility of Muslims in the revelation era, or the notion of plurality and diversity in Islam.