CEP WEEKLY ROUNDUP
News and Updates from the Counter Extremism Project
CEP Policy and Program Updates
Interactive Map Spotlights Extremism & Counter-Extremism by Country
CEP released its new Areas of Operation map that describes extremism and counter-extremism efforts in 24 countries, and depicts the geographic scope and impact of extremist and terrorist groups. The mapping tool includes country-specific reports detailing radicalization and foreign fighters, extremism and terrorist movements, and domestic and international counter-extremism initiatives. The map also features 28 reports on major extremist and terrorist groups operating around the globe — from Al-Qaeda to ISIS, Al-Shabab, Boko Haram, and the Taliban. “The Areas of Operation map, along with the Global Extremist Registry, demonstrates CEP’s commitment to building a best-in-class resource for information on extremist groups, where they operate, their leaders, and their social and financial networks,” said CEP CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace.
CEP Testifies Before U.S. House Homeland Security Committee
On April 27, CEP Strategic Policy Analyst Supna Zaidi Peery testified before the U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. The hearing, “ISIS in the Pacific: Assessing Terrorism in Southeast Asia and the Threat to the Homeland,” examined the current threat ISIS affiliates and their supporters pose to U.S. interests and allies in Southeast Asia. To read the testimony, click here.
CEP Named a Finalist in Classy Awards Competition
Out of more than 1,300 nominated programs, CEP has been named a finalist in the 2016 Classy Awards competition, which honors non-profits and social enterprises for excellence and the ability to solve a social problem. CEP’s online crowdsourcing campaign, #CEPDigitalDisruption, was nominated and has been recognized as one of the 100 most innovative programs of 2016. Final judging and the 10 Classy Award winners will take place in Boston in June. #CEPDigitalDisruption has been a major force in CEP’s ongoing efforts to combat online extremist recruitment, radicalization and incitement. CEP has identified and reported hundreds of extremists to Twitter and continues to monitor accounts in English, French, Italian, German and Turkish.
“The Brussels terror attacks: Lessons learned and challenges ahead for Europe”
CEP Brussels hosted a policy briefing on April 14 in cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC) that focused on the main drivers and catalysts of the jihadist threat in Belgium and across Europe. The Paris and Brussels attacks revealed an extensive network of radicalization and raised questions about the management of complex security crises. These recent attacks have, once again, exposed the urgent need to reexamine current security structures, processes, and policies to address jihadist radicalization and to better anticipate future challenges. To watch the briefing, click here.
“Radicalisation in the Sahel: Threats and opportunities for the EU”
CEP Brussels hosted a closed-door policy briefing on April 7 for diplomats and European Union officials on current issues involving radicalization in the Sahel region. Discussions focused on Islamist movements and ideologies as well as Islam’s compatibility with democratic societies. Speakers examined the history and evolution of radicalization in the Sahel region from the 1970s to present day. Notably, participants described today’s “soft terrorism” tactics by the Muslim Brotherhood, designed to control mosques and universities to indoctrinate younger generations towards extremism. In the European context, speakers emphasized how the EU can and must play a strong role in combatting the spread of radicalization in the Sahel.
U.K. Home Affairs Select Committee International Counter-Terrorism Conference
On April 21, the Rt. Hon. Mark Simmonds, COO of CEP U.K., spoke at a high-level conference on countering extremism at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, hosted by the U.K. Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee. The conference brought together a diverse range of international experts to address the U.K. government’s counter-extremism strategy, policing extremism, tackling radicalization, and developing counter-narratives. Other speakers included Lord Ahmad, U.K. Minister for Countering Extremism; George Selim, CVE Task Force, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol; and the Nigerian Minister for Internal Affairs, Lt. Gen. Dambazau.
Aspen Security Forum: Global in London
CEP U.K. participated in the inaugural Aspen Security Forum: Global on April 22. Mr. Simmonds focused his remarks on the importance of countering extremism on social media and providing a positive alternative for young people who are at risk of being radicalized. CEP U.K. continued to push for a more sophisticated approach to combatting extremist online propaganda, and for more support and training for schools and teachers. The event convened top-level current and former government officials, leading opinion leaders, the media, and other international security experts to address the threat of ISIS, the role of NATO, cybersecurity, and more. Mr. Simmonds’ remarks were noted in The New Arab.
Additionally, Mr. Simmonds was quoted in the Wall Street Journal in a story about two British men who received life sentences for plotting Islamic State-inspired shooting attacks on the streets of London.
CEP Research and Analysis
Facebook and Twitter Applauded for Shutting Down Hamas Accounts
CEP CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace and President Frances F. Townsend issued a statement applauding Facebook and Twitter for suspending accounts connected to the terror group Hamas but cautioned that more needs to be done to fight online extremism. “In order to overcome the ideology that feeds hate, intolerance, and violence, we must combat attempts by these groups to dominate the narrative being fed through the Internet and on social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter must develop a more systematic process for recognizing accounts belonging to Hamas, as well as other extremist groups, and take them down as soon as they appear.”
ISIS’s Dangerous Arsenal: Exposed
In a blog published in the Huffington Post, CEP Research Analyst Marielle Harris details the extent of ISIS’s sophisticated weaponry, including anti-aircraft missiles, chemical weapons, and programmable, driverless car bombs. Harris said no one should doubt ISIS’s ability or willingness to unleash a killing spree in the West.
CounterPoint Blog: The Brussels Attacks, Years in the Making
In this blog, the CEP Brussels staff highlight serious challenges that will have to be overcome to give Brussels and all of Europe a better chance to prevent future attacks like those carried out by ISIS on March 22. To stop violent extremists will require “an unprecedented combination of approaches, from countering extremist ideologies to more effective intelligence gathering and information sharing,” they write. “We are about to learn if Europe can reject its traditional insular habits and make the meaningful changes necessary to better protect all its citizens.”
CounterPoint Blog: Grassroots Solutions Empower the U.K.’s PREVENT Strategy
The PREVENT programme, launched in 2011, aims to safeguard people and communities from the threat of terrorism and extremism. In this blog, the CEP U.K. staff detail information presented to Parliament’s Human Rights Committee regarding the human rights ramifications of the program. David Anderson Q.C., the U.K.’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, told the committee that the main source of concern about the program in Muslim communities seemed to stem from the perceived lack of training given to those who carry out the programme.
Tweet of the Week
CEP extensively monitors Twitter and other social media sites and frequently features a tweet in the Weekly Roundup emblematic of messaging from pro-ISIS followers.