Hedayah’s Counter-Narrative Library
is an existing database tool that provides practitioners and civil societies working in the alternative and counter-narrative space to prevent violent extremism with content and materials. The Library captures a broad spectrum of counter-narratives displayed through informative & emotional videos, articles, blog posts, government campaigns, social media campaigns, comic books, documentaries, books, websites, TV series, cinema & art productions, interviews, events, radio broadcasts, and podcasts. Counter-narratives often include stories of former foreign fighters and extremists, victims of extremism, and families affected. The Library contains multiple features, such as the search capabilities by popular tags, where users can add keywords and key pieces of information to find counter-narratives more efficiently. Users can also suggest new tags. The Library also has a ranking system where users can rank each counter-narrative on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest ranking. Users can also able to contribute new counter-narratives to the Library, subject to approval by the Library Administrator. The counter-narratives are available in multiple languages, and users are able to add translations of counter-narratives if they are available.
The Counter-Narrative Library contains several collections, including regional collections on South East Asia, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), East Africa, and two thematic collections on Daesh Defectors and the Radical Right. Expert workshops support the process of developing new collections drawing on the experience, good practice, and recommendations from experts while identifying and amplifying existing positive alternatives and counter-narratives. Each collection is discussed in-depth below.
The South East Asia Collection
This collection is a follow-up project to Australia’s Regional Summit to Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) that was hosted in Sydney in June 2015. The Summit provided a platform to collaborate on shared challenges posed by the dissemination of terrorist propaganda. One of these recommendations highlighted the importance of government and non-government organizations having access to effective counter-narratives and positive alternative narratives to violent extremists, and suggested there was a need to develop a Compendium of counter-narratives with a focus on South East Asia. Hedayah developed this Compendium to include an Annex of 80 counter-narratives from the region. The Annexed counter-narratives were the basis for the South East Asia collection in this web portal. As part of the Compendium, Hedayah also developed Undermining Violent Extremist Narratives in South East Asia: A How-To Guide. The Compendium was partially based on an expert workshop held in March 2016 in Semarang, Indonesia at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) headquarters titled “South East Asia Collection of Counter-Narratives.” The Compendium, workshop, and South East Asia collection was supported and funded by the Australian Government through the Attorney-General’s Department. Hedayah thanks the AAG for their support for this Collection.
Daesh Defectors Collection
This collection focuses on compiling relevant 169 narratives of “defectors” from ISIS/Daesh. Because those individuals are often returnees and have physically been present in Syria or Iraq, their voices against the organization may highlight the weaknesses of the organization and reveal the atrocities of the violence and suffering taking place on the ground. Moreover, since they have experienced the so-called “Islamic State” first hand, they are credible to perhaps some of the most vulnerable to violent extremist recruitment. Part of the contributions to this collection included good practices, examples, and lessons learned from a workshop hosted by Hedayah in June 2015 on “Countering FTF Recruitment: Counter-Messaging and the Role of Disillusioned Foreign Terrorist Fighters.”
The Middle East and North Africa Collection
This collection serves to enhance Hedayah’s Counter-Narrative Library by developing a regional collection that focuses on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This collection aims to collate, collect, and analyze 199 counter-narratives in English, Arabic, and French coming from and targeted at audiences in the region.
The Collection consisted of several main steps: 1) An expert workshop on the “Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Collection of Counter-Narratives for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)” hosted by Hedayah and Search for Common Ground from 31 July – 2 August 2017. The 3-day workshop served as a way to collect relevant counter-narratives, discuss good practices and lessons learned from the region, and identify case studies that were most effective for the region; 2) The development of this “How-To Guide” that serves as a toolkit for practitioners and policymakers in the region. The “How-To Guide” will also be translated and published in Arabic. The “How-To Guide” features an Annex II of examples of counter-narratives for MENA against Daesh, and 3) A regional collection for MENA online, made available at Hedayah’s Counter-Narrative Library. The collection includes links to relevant resources for MENA, highlights each of the counter-narratives in Annex 3 in more detail, and links to the sources and videos for those counter-narratives available online. Hedayah is grateful to the United States Department of State for sponsoring this collection.
The East and Africa Collection
This collection focuses on counter-narratives from the East and Horn of Africa region to include Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. In order to help develop the collection, Hedayah in partnership with IGAD Center of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (ICEPCVE) organized a three-day working style meeting to collect and analyze existing counter-narratives. The workshop was hosted in Kigali, Rwanda from 5-7 February 2018. The experts at the workshop helped to recommend and collate relevant counter-narratives from different countries in the region and produce an in-depth analysis of at least 3 case studies. The outcomes of the meeting and the collection of counter-narratives will be presented in a “How-To Guide” for the region, as was done for past regional collections. The workshop and the counter-narrative collection were supported by the US Department of State.
Radical Right Counter Narrative Collection
This collection is a collaborative project between the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR) and Hedayah (as part of the European Union’s STRIVE-Global program). It is primarily designed to establish the premiere toolbox on radical right counter-narratives across a range of dimensions (such as economic, cultural-historical, political, and ideological). It aims to build a comprehensive database of regionally specific research briefings, counter-narratives, alternative messages, and positive messages that can be used by governments and NGO practitioners involved in combating the destabilizing effects of the radical right groups. Building on this, radical right counter-narrative assessment frameworks will also be constructed- both further quantifying what makes for an effective counter-narrative, but also contains a set of ethical standards to guide practitioners in using them. Finally, a set of recorded webinars with CVE experts in the Government and NGO sector globally will provide up-to-date and current information about good practices in radical right counter-narratives and how they contribute to the de-radicalization of radical right extremists through stories of former extremists and experts in the field.