Rabat - Security experts, humanities scholars, and ulemas (religious scholars) met at an international summit last week in Rabat to discuss the risks of extremist discourse and counter its growing appeal within communities in low income neighborhoods.
Rabat – Security experts, humanities scholars, and ulemas (religious scholars) met at an international summit last week in Rabat to discuss the risks of extremist discourse and counter its growing appeal within communities in low income neighborhoods.
The conference, organized by the Mohammadia League of Scholars, convened Moroccan and foreign experts on religion and security-related fields to focus on the importance of discourse—either written or spoken—to prevent radicalization and ideology-related violence.
Under the theme “Analyzing Extremist Discourse,” conference participants argued that violent discourse is the root of terrorist acts and that effective counterterrorism measures should target radical discourse.
In his keynote speech, Ahmed Abbadi, Secretary General of the Mohammedia League of Scholars (Morocco’s council of religious scholars), said that the conference was an opportunity to “deal with terrorism in its own terrain.”
The conference aimed to to understand, decipher, and deconstruct the rhetoric used by terrorist groups to recruit or win the sympathy of target populations.
According to Abbadi, terrorism is a multidimensional problem, and tackling it requires authorities to limit its appeal to vulnerable groups.
He added that fighting against extremism includes a special focus not only on the security aspect, but also on the social, economic, and ideological appeal of fundamentalist rhetoric.
Abbadi concluded his remarks by pointing that although Moroccan security forces have been effective in dealing with terrorist threats, there is still room for improvement and more efficiency, especially with regards to the human and socio-economic aspect of the fight against terrorism.
For more efficiency, he said, authorities need to invest more in advocating the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) which fights poverty and promotes inclusive policies.
Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijiri, the director of the Islamic Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (ISECO), said that education is the most effective way of countering terrorism and fundamentalist rhetoric. For Altwaijiri, “Terrorism stems from false and misleading interpretations [of Holy Scriptures].”
Authorities and specialists should promote education and raise society’s awareness about “appealing but false” claims, Othman said. He added that anti-terrorism should be a broad initiative that combines tight security measures, improving the education level, and fighting poverty.