European Practice Exchange on Deradicalisation (EPEX)
Over the last two years, the phenomenon of militant Islamists inspired radicalisation and recruitment of young European citizens leaving their home countries to fight alongside various armed groups in the Syrian civil war have increased in numbers and severity all over Europe. The presence of so-called “foreign fighters” in Syria and Iraq is considered particularly troublesome given the possibility that some of those who come back (so-called “returnees”) from the conflict zone might engage in acts of ideologically motivated violence in their countries of origin or in third countries.
Community based and grassroot organisations – such as NGOs - can play a major role in addressing this challenge. Civil society stakeholders benefit from being perceived as more impartial and therefore more credible in acting upon the pressing problem of ideologically motivated violence than governmental structures. Therefore it’s easier for NGO practitioners to access the vulnerable environment of the target group (and/or their relatives) and to build relationships based on respect and mutual trust which is indispensable for successful deradicalisation interventions (and counselling processes).
In parallel, practitioners of community based organisations can credibly claim an intermediating role in preventing radicalisation within their localities and neighborhoods.
The European Practice Exchange on Deradicalisation aims at establishing a network of European
practitioners of 10- 12 different NGOs dealing with the challenges of ISIS inspired radicalisation and
recruitment to militant islamist extremism, to organise a cross-border knowledge transfer in order to
share experiences and lessons learned as well as enable activity-based peer-learning. The European Practice Exchange will establishing a coaching network to enable peer-learning exclusively for practitioners, connecting first-liners and disseminating the expertise needed by activity-based learning. The Foundation contributes to Network of European Foundations to support the EPEX project.
The project will be coordinated by Violence Prevention Network e.V. (link: www.violence-prevention-network.de/)