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downloadables, jihad/terror, perspective, radicalisation / counter-radicalisation

Just sharing – Promoting Online Voices for Countering Violent Extremism

ImageBy Todd C Helmus, Erin York, Peter Chalk, Rand, 2013

To access or download the paper, please click here.

Key Findings

•  American Muslims are increasingly using the Web and social media to help counter violent extremism. Discussions with a number of Muslim leaders active in social media suggest that it is possibleto expand such efforts even further, and doing so is a major objective of the August 2011 White House strategy to counter violent extremism.

•  While Muslim Americans play an active role in countering extremism, several factors may work to undermine higher-level engagement, including: low radicalization rates among American Muslims, negative perceptions of U.S.counter terrorism policies, a limited reservoir of leadership capacity and CVE funding (which preventseffective outreach), and being viewed as sell-outs to those most sympathetic to jihadi causes.

• In some cases, the First Amendment may limit U.S. government attempts to fund CVE programs of an ideological bent, but this restriction could ultimately benefit CVE discourse as it frees Muslim groups of the taint of government funding and prevents the government from having to “choose sides” in intra-Muslim discourse and debate.

•  Both the U.S. State Department and the “think-do-tank” Google Ideas have initiated insightful programs that seek to build capacity and otherwise promote credible Muslim voices.

•  Recommendations include desecuritizing efforts to counter violent extremism, addressing  sources of mistrust within the Muslim community, focusing engagements and CVE education on social media influencers, building leadership and social media capacity in the Muslim community,enhancing private sector funding and engagement, and finding avenues to enhance government funding.

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About Muhammad Haniff Hassan

Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan is a Fellow. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. in Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (previously known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies), Nanyang Technological University. He received his early education in Aljunied Islamic School. He then continued his tertiary education at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, National University of Malaysia, with honours in Syar`iah and Civil law. Mr. Haniff is also active in social activities as a member of the Islamic Religious Council Appeal Board, HSBC Insurance Islamic Advisory Board from 2000 to 2014, Association of Islamic Religious Teachers and Scholars of Singapore (PERGAS) and Management Committee of Al-Irsyad Islamic School. He writes extensively in Berita Harian (a local Malay newspaper) and has also published articles in The Straits Times. He has published six books in his name, co-authored a monograph and helped publish two books for PERGAS and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. His personal website in Malay is at www.haniff.sg

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