Aid & Development

New counter extremism campaign launched in Baghdad, Iraq

Iraq

A number of political leaders that will be contesting in the upcoming elections took to the podium and discussed ways in which to prevent the rise of extremism in Iraq.

In December 2017, the formal declaration of defeat was made against ISIS militants in Iraq. Although smaller-scale security operations continue to battle against ISIS sleeper cells, the next hurdle for Iraq’s future internal security is to prevent the proliferation of the extremist ideology that the militants worked hard to spread amongst the country’s population.

A launch ceremony for the country’s post-ISIS counter-radicalisation campaign was recently held at Baghdad’s Abu Hanifa Mosque. The campaign, called Iraq Without Extremism, has been designed to eradicate extremist and radical ideologies. The campaign is being supervised by the Jurisprudence Assembly for Senior Scholars.

Salim al-Jabouri, the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, stated at the launch ceremony that the issue of extremism and radicalisation is not confined to one sect but can be adopted by anybody who does not believe in the state and its authority. Consequently, countering extremism can only be achieved through dialogue with all of the country’s religious, ethnic and tribal communities.

Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the National Wisdom Movement, stressed the importance of Iraq refraining from being a part of any proxy war in the region’s conflicts. Instead, Iraq should focus on uniting the country’s people to rebuild the nation.

“It is not right for Iraq to be taking sides in any of the region’s crises,” said al-Hakim. “We need to make Iraq an axis of dialogue and negotiation working to unite people together.”

The United Nations, who are working with the Iraqi authorities in implementing the campaign, added that there needs to be a greater educational awareness of the dangers of radicalisation. An essential area of work for the campaign is in the country’s schools and universities. In addition to religious institutions. The long term success of the Iraq Without Extremism campaign is dependent on the re-education and involvement of children and young people who had previously been exposed to ISIS militant’s extremist indoctrination programmes.