A US News & World Report article titled "Schooled in Tolerance" featured CCCPA's program on Preventing Radicalization and Extremism Leading to Terrorism in Africa (PRELT), as an example of initiatives where "religion's controversial role in radicalization is confronted head-on."According to Dr. Yasmine Farouk, CCCPA's Director of Research, "Many counter-radicalization programs, especially those funded by Western governments, avoid the subject, even though it is urgent to get into such sensitive questions."
CCCPA's training course on PRELT is the first of its kind to rely on the rules and ethics of Islamic sharia in messaging strategies aimed at preventing radicalization in Africa at the local level. The training aims to empower local community leaders and influencers to prevent radicalization in their communities, including by developing and delivering inclusive messages, rooted in consensual Islamic legal tradition and local narratives of peace.
While terrorism must not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization, CCCPA's approach starts from the conviction that the appeal of terrorist organizations is based on their manipulation of religion to cast a false legitimacy over the use of violence. Terrorist narratives of extremism and intolerance in Africa thus tap into real and perceived, individual and collective, grievances to convince vulnerable individuals to resort to terrorism, under a false religious banner.
In this regard, CCCPA's training starts with a conflict analysis exercise that identifies those grievances, and empowers local leaders with the skills necessary to understand (i) how terrorist organizations exploit conflict to produce radicalization narratives that resonate with individual experiences inside the community; (ii) how Islamic rules and ethics of war and peace offer an alternative pathway; and (iii) how local community leaders can develop and disseminate inclusive alternative messages of peace.
CCCPA has so far conducted two pilot trainings targeting Somali local leaders. A third training for Nigerian local community leaders and influencers took place from 26 to 30 March 2017. This was the last training in the pilot phase. Three additional trainings are scheduled to take place over the period from April 2017 to March 2018.