Practical guide on how to counter extremists’ narratives in South East Asia

Countering extremismPractical guide on how to counter extremists’ narratives in South East Asia

Published 31 August 2016

On Tuesday, the Hedayah Institute launched its latest compendium and report titled Undermining Violent Extremist Narratives in South East Asia. The report contains practical advice for civil society organizations and practitioners to develop effective narratives that counter the approaches of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, and other violent extremists in the region. The guide also contains clear examples of counter-messages, case studies, and links to videos and Web sites that are relevant to supporting the development of counter-narratives.

On Tuesday, the Hedayah Institute — the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — launched its latest compendium and report titled Undermining Violent Extremist Narratives in South East Asia. The report contains practical advice for civil society organizations and practitioners to develop effective narratives that counter the approaches of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, and other violent extremists in the region. The guide also contains clear examples of counter-messages, case studies, and links to videos and Web sites that are relevant to supporting the development of counter-narratives.

Hedaya says that the information in the compendium drew on an expert workshop hosted in Semarang, Indonesia in March 2016, in which participants shared examples of counter-narratives from their countries. Participants at the workshop included representatives from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Hedaya says that the compendium aims to:

  • Explain existing good practice approaches to counter-messaging;
  • Reflect diverse regional practices in South East Asia;
  • Include multiple best practice case studies of effective counter-narrative campaigns from the region;
  • List commonly used terrorist narratives and corresponding counter-narratives; and
  • Link to online material (such as reference to video and audio files).

The compendium was announced on Tuesday by Michael Keenan, Australia’s Minister for Justice, and the Australian Attorney-General’s Department. The compendium was recommended by the participants of Australia’s Regional Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, which took place in Sydney in June 2015.

“Across the globe, international organizations and governments are grappling with the complex challenge of developing better and more coordinated responses to groups such as Daesh [ISIS], as well as defining methods to prevent further radicalization and recruitment, or the emergence of new violent extremism and terrorism… Projects such as this highlight how practical, results-focused cooperation and partnerships can help us ensure security and stability within our region,” Keenan said.

The project was sponsored by the Attorney-General’s Department of Australian as part of their commitment to preventing and countering violent extremism and terrorism. The compendium is available in English, but will soon be available in Bahasa, Malay, and Tagalog. 

The examples of counter-narratives contained in the compendium have also been uploaded into Hedayah’s Counter-Narrative Library, an online portal and database of existing, open-source counter-narratives.

— Read more in Sara Zeiger, Undermining Violent Extremist Narratives in South East Asia (Hedyah, August 2016); see also in Counter-narratives for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in South East Asia (Hedaya, May 2016)

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