Policy-Papers

Addressing Violent Extremism in the MENA Region

18 April 2024

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region faces complex challenges in addressing violent extremism (VE) and radicalisation. This policy paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the research findings on these issues and offer recommendations for national governments, international organisations, and civil society actors to develop effective prevention strategies.

Institutional and legal context of dealing with the issues of radicalisation and VE, reveal not only definitional problems but also bureaucratic obstacles to the design and implementation of common vision, strategies and policies linked to some common institutional Impediments. The limitations caused by this context of Institutional weaknesses are also to be considered with knowledge and policy gaps in the MENA region exacerbated by the dominance of the hard security approaches and the centralisation of decision making concerning countering radicalisation and violent extremism (VE).

Multi-level (macro, meso and micro levels) research in the MENA region identifies common drivers of radicalisation in the region, including the crucial role of social local contexts marked by the influence of social and economic grievances exacerbated by regional disparities causing a heightened perception of social injustice. The strong reliance on the security approach, coupled with the lack of channels for the peaceful and risk-free expression of political grievances, and spaces for the acquisition of tools and skills of active citizenship structures, all contribute to creating an environment facilitating the influence of transnational factors. Religion and ideology play significant roles only in contexts where local grievances are not politically addressed. They appear to be more identified as prevention factors and a potential source for resilience than drivers of radicalisation. Successful PVE strategies and policies need to take these nuances into consideration for sustainable PVE initiatives.

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