The Real Jihad is the Struggleto Live a Good and Moral Life
Here are a few different ways you can work in your communities to help discourage people from joining violent extremist and militant jihadi groups:
Plan an Awareness Raising Event:
Be as creative as you like! Come up with your own event idea on how you can best share information about the dangers of extremism. Students might want to hold an expo where they share their own or others stories or works of art related to this issue. Feel free to arrange a screening of any of the ICSVE videos and hold a discussion afterwards being careful to be sensitive to many points of view. Artists might want to create pieces of work that address the issue of militant jihad in a thought-provoking way while also providing resources to those considering militant jihad. You could also organize a marathon run, a basketball game, a bake sale, a theatre production, or a social media campaign organized around the idea of fighting violent extremism as the theme.
Consider who might be targeted by extremists in your community and think about positive environments where you might be able to influence their opinion. Ideally, you’d want to share a selection of some of our films and also have a speaker or two explain the context. ICSVE staff may be available to attend and speak at your event if it’s a large one.
Host a Movie Night:
We have more than 40 short films that share different stories of the reality of life under ISIS. Change starts with awareness. We welcome you to use these films on the big screen in theaters, on projectors in an auditorium or even on a computer in a classroom. You can host an educational movie night in your community that is sure to have meaningful impact, exposing potential jihadi recruits to material that could sway their mind. We suggest including a guest speaker who can speak about the context of joining as well as a question and answer session with someone who can talk about the reality of life under ISIS. ICSVE may be able to help you identify speakers in your community .
Write about Extremism in Your Local Newspaper / Blog:
If you are especially passionate about this effort of getting people to reconsider militant jihad, write about it. It’s easy these days to write on the Internet and have your message read by thousands of people. Your story could change lives. Reach out to the editor of your local newspaper or editor of a blog that you follow. You can cite the research conducted by ICSVE and mention and even link to the videos, if you think that would be interesting to readers.
Create a Help Box where You Work/Live/Study:
It’s possible that someone else is struggling with this issue where you work, live or study. Someone may not know where to direct a loved one who is considering militant jihad. You may not know all the answers but you’ve found a valuable resource (The Real Jihad) that you can share with others. Create a system, like a help box, where people can ask questions and seek help if they are considering militant jihad themselves or know someone who might need guidance. It’ll be up to you to find ways to do this in an environment where there is trust. Yet it could lead to great change to those who don’t know the next steps to take. As you locate helplines and professionals in your community that are already competently helping on this issue please let us know as we will also list them on our website.
Lead an Awareness Campaign through Posters
Your community might want to mobilize around this issue, if they feel strongly enough about preventing their fellow students, peers or colleagues from joining militant jihad. You could organize your peers who are motivated on this issue to create and hang up posters to create awareness challenging militant jihad and providing them alternatives in their community. Please feel free to mention our website www.TheRealJihad.org and our videos as resources.
Create Your Own Video
You don’t have to rely on our video collection. We encourage artists and enthusiasts to create their own stories in their own words, drawing on their own personal experiences within their communities. A personal video about the alternatives to militant jihad might spark some thought for someone who is considering joining militant jihad. We encourage you to think about how you can best impact people with your own narrative and thought-provoking stories. You may also want to help redirect others to find better answers than terrorism and violence to answer pressing social issues.
Keep Us Posted
However you decide to get involved in this issue, it’s important to be careful with the language and tone you take. If someone is considering joining militant jihad, concrete examples are likely to have more impact then broad strokes condemning a group like ISIS as “evil.” Contact us if you have any questions. We’d love to hear about any events you plan to hold in your community. Remember big things often start from a small start and all it takes is the initiative and will to make it work. You may retool as you go along, but that is the nature of creativity!