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Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) as a Dilemma for African Muslims -A Roundtable Discussion
November 14, 2016 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Islam in Africa Working Group organized a symposium last spring with the title “Winning the Hearts and Minds? African Muslims and the Negotiation of Counter-terrorism Policies”, where Murray Last, David Anderson, Hamidou Magassa, and Terje Ostebo contributed. The symposium focused on African states’ counterterrorism policies and analyzed how Muslim communities are responding to these. It interrogated commonly-held assumptions, to pointed to the need to recognize inherent complexities on the ground, and stimulated constructive discussion around this topic. The symposium both addressed this from a general perspective as well focusing on cases such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Mali
This current roundtable is a follow-up on this symposium, where we intend to dig deeper in to the topic. The speakers will ask whether the “global war on terror” actually have contributed to reducing the level of security threat, and whether it possibly has had some serious unintended consequences. We also question labels such as “violent extremists” – which been often applied indiscriminately to Muslim communities – and how policy measures frequently fail to recognize the heterogeneous nature of such communities. Inspired by the global discourse of “countering violent extremism” (CVE) and driven by often legitimate concerns about national security, many African states have embraced strong counterterrorism policies. These responses, however, often pay insufficient attention to inherent local complexities, and have placed African Muslims in a difficult situation, in which they are forced to negotiate their position within a political environment perceivedgl as increasingly hostile. The resulting marginalization and stigmatization of Muslim communities as a consequence of such policies can lead to withdrawal from national political life – as well as resulting in self-fulfilling prophesies as Muslim groups are further politicized and embrace new forms of religious militancy.
Featured members of the roundtable: Sue O’Brien (Assoc. Prof., Center for African Studies & Hist.) Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim (Grad stud., Political Science) Terje Ostebo (Assoc. Prof., Center for African Studies & Religion) Moderator: Leo Villalon (Dean, Center for International Studies)