At the request of and in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy in Rabat, NIMAR is carrying out a project on combatting violent extremism. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is making a contribution to this project, which is known as ‘Bridging Gaps’. In this project, NIMAR is establishing links between, on the one hand, Dutch institutions, and in particular the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Campus The Hague, and, on the other hand, Moroccan knowledge centers, training institutes and government establishments.
Training the Islamic cadre
The first part of the pilot project focuses on the Netherlands, and namely on training the Islamic cadre: people such as imams, spiritual leaders, mosque managers, lecturers, youth workers and police officers who provide social services to or religious education for young Muslims. The basic premise of the project is that one way to counter radicalisation is to train an Islamic cadre that is familiar with Islamic religion, history and culture in all their depth and breadth as well as with current affairs and how the Netherlands and Morocco respond to these. The aim of the project is to provide ten-day exchange programs for ten to 15 people at a time. These exchange programs comprise meetings, workshops, debates, discussions and lectures to provide different groups with more knowledge of religion and politics.
In-depth sessions with imams, Islam experts, political scientists and other academics from Morocco and the wider Arabic region, bring the diversity of Islam to the participants’ attention, and they are encouraged to explore the religion and think about the relationship between politics and religion. The sources of radicalisation are key here. The Leiden Islam Academy prepares the participants before the program and invites them to reflect on their experiences afterwards.
The aim of the second part of the project is to amass knowledge on violent extremism in Morocco and the region and on effective ways on reduce this. The aim of this part of the project is to enable academics and professionals to increase their knowledge of anti-terrorism strategies, for instance by working with local partners. NIMAR will also arrange for a study to be conducted of current activities and developments in countering violent extremism in Morocco and the region, and hold a round-table session with experts.More information can be found on the Dutch website