CT, Communication and Non-State Actors

On 3 November 2010, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague hosted a closed-session seminar on the topic of ‘Counter-Terrorism, Communication and Non-State Actors’, prior to the 3rd Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Workshop hosted by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This ICCT Seminar looked into the issue of communication and framing in countering violent extremist ideologies with special focus on the role non-governmental actors. Questions arose on how (potentially) violent individuals and groups are included and portrayed in the prevailing counter-terrorism discourse? What dangers does this hold for further isolation and radicalisation? Can non-state actors play a positive role in this process?

Dr. Beatrice de Graaf (Research Fellow ICCT) analysed the messages counter-terrorism policies unwittingly produce and the consequences that these narratives have on groups in society, popular discourse and the perception of the state’s counter-terrorism policies. Sadik Harchaou (Chairman Forum Institute for Multicultural Affairs) subsequently presented his views on the role that civil society and social diplomacy can and should play in countering the appeal of violent extremism, building on his institute’s practical experience.

Janny Groen (Investigative Journalist Volkskrant) assessed the role of the media, especially with regard to framing the debate and portraying the actors involved. Lastly, Shiraz Maher (International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation) examined the effect that counter-terrorism measures and connected discourse has on the image of the Islamic religion and explain how non-governmental actors have both positively and negatively impacted this process.