Fallujah Chooses Peace: A Workshop on Standing Up to Terrorism and Violent Extremism
The Council of the Tribes Against Terrorism, in cooperation with the Peace Forum in Fallujah, recently held a productive discussion session entitled ‘City of Fallujah, The Land of Peace, Resisting Terrorism and Standing Against Violent Extremism’. The workshop was attended by a group of tribes and activists and took place in Fallujah on 12 October in the Fallujah’s Royal Hall.
The session was divided in two parts: the first considered extremism expressed through the lens of religion, how religious verses and sayings of the Prophet have been exploited and distorted so as to endorse the desires of extremists and deceive youth and children about the true meaning of religious texts.
The second part of the workshop dealt with the role tribes play in the fight against extremism. This second session came up with a set of recommendations, summarized here:
- Work to eliminate social differences between the various segments of society, including clans, clerics and intellectuals;
- Hold symposia and frequent meetings among different segments of the community to bring out overlapping and shared views and concerns;
- Address the ignorance and intellectual confusion that has been negatively exploited by extremist terrorist groups;
- Fight the causes of poverty by supporting organizations which might be able to create jobs and encourage investment in the private sector;
- Focus on the importance of social networking sites and urge young people to make optimal use of them to communicate and spread positive views and news of opportunities they might benefit from;
- Hold more seminars like this one in rural areas thus expanding the scope of this kind of work;
- Form a committee to monitor suspicions raised by extremist groups, become familiar with the kinds of language and jargon they use so that the public can be educated about the ways they might be deceived by extremists’ rhetoric and strategies;
- Urge government agencies and civil society organizations to support intellectuals who are knowledgeable about how and why violent extremism is cultivated and spread;
- Support women by taking all necessary steps to enlarge the opportunities open to them while strengthening their role in building and maintaining a healthy and harmonious society.
The Peacebuilding masar (path) of the Peace Forum in Fallujah, part of the Iraqi Social Forum, in cooperation with the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative and the Italian organization, Un Ponte Per…, continue their joint campaign to combat extremism and the spread of extremist ideology in all its forms. Together these groups will intensify their work by holding more seminars of this kind in villages and rural areas in order to raise awareness about the various forms extremism can take and effective ways to work to spread peace.
Iraqi Social Forum