UN Counter-Terrorism Week: Stopping violent extremism

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“Our faith is a real, trustworthy faith that treats girls with justice and equity,” she stated, leaning ahead for emphasis. 

She is aware of of what she speaks. She is the daughter of Baba Ould Maata, a extremely revered Mauritanian scholar.

Impressed by her father, Ms. Maata has launched into her personal journey of learning the Quran and different conventional texts from a younger age, graduating from Mauritania’s largest Islamic establishment and learning Islamic legislation on the post-graduate stage. 

Introduced up in an Islamic family, Ms. Maata believes it’s her accountability and responsibility to offer again to her neighborhood.

Neighborhood outreach

Generally known as the Mourchidates, religiously educated girls like Ms. Maata are educating their communities on the dangers of violent extremism.

Established in 2021 with the assist of the UN Workplace on Medication and Crime (UNODC), the Mauritanian Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and the Affiliation of Girls Heads of Family, the Mourchidates community works to fight violent extremism in varied settings, together with prisons, in Mauritania. 

Mauritania belongs to the Sahel area in Africa, an space which has confronted “an enlargement of terrorism and extremist actions”, Ms. Maata stated.

Beginning in 2005, Islamic terrorists have carried out a number of assaults throughout the nation, a lot to the dismay of religious Muslims and proud Mauritanians, she stated. 

Countering messages of hate

“We Mauritanians are tolerant and understanding of others, and we settle for and welcome folks from different religions,” she stated. “These assaults have been opposite to each Mauritanian tradition and Islamic sharia.”

When requested how finest to struggle again towards rhetoric that makes use of and distorts Islam, she stated the reply is easy: “the Quran”.

Chosen particularly for his or her experience on Islam, the ladies give attention to utilizing Islamic arguments to counter messages of hate and violence.

“We make clear verses from the Quran and clarify the hadith [a collection of sayings from the Prophet Muhammad], each of which urge peace and civil and neighborhood safety,” she stated. “We level out the seven ideas which are utilized in extremist discourse, equivalent to jihad, and use Islamic arguments that present the right intention of those verses, which combats extremist ideologies.”

The Mourchidates decide the place and which teams are vulnerable to falling prey to extremist arguments. They then use their community to facilitate dialogues at prisons, mosques, colleges, markets, and even houses.

Excessive jail sentences beginning extremist concepts

“As soon as, we Mourchidates visited a jail, the primary time one thing like this had been allowed in Mauritania,” she stated.

Inside, they found that one of many feminine prisoners had been a robust chief inside the Salafist Group, a conservative Islamic motion that follows the practices of early generations of Muslims. 

“Excessive sentences typically generate extremist concepts in prisons,” she relates. “We’re proud that we have been in a position to persuade her with spiritual arguments that Islam is a righteous and tolerant faith.”

Finally, the prisoner introduced her withdrawal from these extremist concepts and promised to get entangled in actions that serve Mauritania’s safety and civil peace, Ms. Maata stated, including that the girl had agreed to take part in a dialogue between spiritual students and former Salafists, sponsored by the Mauritanian Authorities.

A boy walks on a sand bank surrounding a refugee camp in M'bera, Mauritania.

A boy walks on a sand financial institution surrounding a refugee camp in M’bera, Mauritania.

Early warning techniques

In 2022, Mourchidate help reached greater than 10,000 folks. In Nouakchott, the Mourchidates supported the wives, sisters, and moms of detainees, serving to them to desert violent, extremist concepts.

In Ould Yengé, close to the borders with Mali and Senegal, the Mourchidates have contributed to an early warning system by alerting legislation enforcement forces of suspicious circumstances.

In the meantime, in Adel Bagrou, a metropolis bordering Mali, the Mourchidates community supplied assist to younger victims of terrorism who had discovered refuge in Mauritania, facilitating their integration into on a regular basis life of their new nation. 

Mauritania has not skilled a single terrorist assault since 2011, thanks partially to the efforts of individuals like Zeinabou and the community, based on UNODC.

“Girls are able to reaching something they set their thoughts to,” Ms. Maata stated. “They’ve the present of being persuasive, tipping the scales of their favour, and they need to use this skill to assist serve their international locations.”

Study extra about UNODC’s Sahel gender initiatives right here.

UN Counter-Terrorism Week is being held at UN Headquarters in New York from 19 to 23 June. Study extra right here.


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