Wednesday September 19, 2018
Home Lead Story Experts to US...

Experts to US Lawmakers: Women Are Untapped Resource in Countering Extremism

“Women are uniquely placed to effectively challenge extremist narratives in homes, schools, and societies the world over,”

0
//
32
us lawmakers
A group of women listen to Council on American-Islamic Relations-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, speaking about the Somali community concerns about the proposed government-initiated Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program during a news conference in Minneapolis, Aug. 6, 2015. VOA
Republish
Reprint

The role of women and their potential in countering extremism around the world is often overlooked and underestimated, a group of experts told U.S. lawmakers this week.

“Recent research shows that antiterrorism messages are disseminated quite effectively throughout families and communities by women, who can counter extremist narratives in homes, schools and social environments,” Jamille Bigio, a senior fellow for women and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, said at a House subcommittee hearing on the role of women in fighting terrorism around the world.

US Lawmakers
Jamille Bigio, a senior fellow for women and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. VOA

“Traditional efforts by governments and nongovernmental organizations to combat radicalization rarely include women,” Bigio told lawmakers.

The hearing was called by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade to discuss ways of overcoming what some lawmakers termed a “strategic blind spot” in the ongoing efforts to counter global extremism and terrorism.

“Counterterrorism efforts across the world have not given enough thought to the idea that women can also represent an untapped resource in the fight against extremism and radicalization,” Congressman Ted Poe, chairman of the subcommittee, said at the beginning of the hearing.

“Women are uniquely placed to effectively challenge extremist narratives in homes, schools, and societies the world over,” Poe added.

us lawmakers
Haras Rafiq, chief executive of London-based Quilliam International, a think tank monitoring extremism. VOA

Sense of belonging

Haras Rafiq, chief executive of London-based Quilliam International, a think tank monitoring extremism, told lawmakers that the failure of societies to foster a shared sense of belonging is one of the biggest factors that contribute to the growth of extremism.

“Cultural insularity and extremism are products of the failures of wider society to foster a shared sense of belonging and to advance liberal democratic values,” Rafiq said.

“Challenging extremism is the duty of all responsible members of society,” he added.

Valerie Hudson, of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, told lawmakers that they have looked into several indicators that disempower women and thus prevent them from the role they could play in countering extremism and radicalization.

us lawmakers
Valerie Hudson, of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. VOA

“What we have done is based on almost 20 years of research. We understood that cage that is right there at the household level and that is a cage that is created through marriage law, personal status law and property rights that disempowers the woman, specifically within her household so she can’t access the resources and she doesn’t have the say within her household,” Hudson said.

She added those factors make women less effective in terms of stopping their sons and, in some cases their daughters, from becoming terrorists.

Economic opportunities

Another expert at the hearing, Farhat Popal, manager of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, said education and economic opportunities for women are vital to countering violent extremism.

“Education and economic opportunities are two ways that we can work towards sustainable development in Afghanistan and that in and of itself will help counter violent extremism,” said Popal, whose organization follows women rights and empowerment issues in several countries, including Afghanistan.

us lawmakers
Farhat Popal, manager of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. VOA

“CVE [countering violent extremism] is also about more than security. It’s about creating resilient communities that are built upon strong social connections, trust, and inclusion,” she added.

Bigio, of the Council on Foreign Relations, stressed the need to bring women participation issue to the forefront of ongoing efforts.

“Right now, the White House has the pen in developing a new national counterterrorism strategy and a new national strategy in countering violent extremist groups,” Bigio said. “These should include attention to women as enablers and mitigators of terrorism.” (VOA)

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Rediscovering Indians abroad: Foreign policies, Modi’s charm and Building dreams

A take on the good and the bad coming out of Modi's attempt to reach the Indian's living abroad

0
(Representational Pic). Wikimedia
  • Indian diaspora abroad is booming than ever before and their involvement in the countries development has been more evident than before
  • The government needs to be prepared to make jobs in the market, offering the same kind of roles and benefits in case of implementing plans for rehabilitation
  • Lifelong Indian visas and 24*7 Helpline for NRI’s are some of the changes that have been brought about

August 26, 2016: Indians living abroad have been often looked at with an eye of suspicion whenever they criticised policies, its judicial system or even its paani-puri.

Who is he to analyse? What right does he have to talk about the Indian economy or Indians? Is he not the one who ran away from this very system to tend to opportunities abroad? – Many of us have thrown these questions at NRIs.

Nonetheless, it’s high time the ‘he betrayed his motherland’ attitude is dropped because the Indian diaspora is more booming than ever and their involvement in the countries development has been more evident in the recent years.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter

The Modi – ripple effect

Visa on arrival, 24*7 Helpline for NRI’s and Nuclear deals, he’s either done or tried them all. PM Modi’s increasing support for the Indian’s abroad is encouraging them to contribute in terms of technical expertise or monetarily. Modi first started with a flashy speech in New York’s Madison Square Garden then moved on to delivering a remarkable speech at the British Parliament in the UK, before we knew it he was swinging it at the Dubai Cricket Stadium. It’s these efforts that showed its colours in the form of contribution to tourism or labour. In 2003, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Overseas Indian Day) in Gujarat, 9,000 Indian’s from all around the world came in to show their support. His signature campaigns such as the National Mission for Clean Ganga has seen involvement by many American-Indian’s on social media and in the form of Investment.

PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons
PM Modi addressing the nation on Independence Day, Wikimedia Commons

Today, the Indian diaspora abroad has pitched in a lot not only due to the Modi’s charisma or his attempts to keep foreign policy as the centerpiece of all discussions but also due to emotional vulnerability of the ‘apna desh’ feeling, a harmless way of pressing the restart button to reconnect with what felt lost.

Fears and concerns

Nobody claimed, that shifting the focus from the ‘American dream’ back to India will be easy. For starters, India does not have a comprehensive and precise data about the number of Indians that reside in different parts of the world. Hence, future plans for their welfare are blocked right at the very beginning. The government needs to be prepared to make jobs in the market, offering the same kind of roles and benefits in case of implementing plans for rehabilitation or for curbing the number of Indians going abroad.

Secondly, not all Indian’s are Modi supporters and there are times where he is greeted with protestors instead of selfie craving fans. This aversion to the ruling government can be detrimental to the foreign policies that were laid down.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

A man that leaves his land for better opportunities is always filled with this urge to give back all that he took. Currently, India is rediscovering these Indians abroad with a feeling of munificence.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

ALSO READ: