About the Campaign
On April 15, 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing reminded us that extremists can still strike. Despite the precautions our government has taken, gaps still exist. Law enforcement can only go so far in preventing these attacks.
We believe that, in order to keep our nation safe, the American Muslim community must take a proactive approach to identifying and intervening individuals who may be susceptible to violent extremism.
MPAC’s Safe Spaces Initiative seeks to help communities create spiritual safe spaces for open dialogue and debate while also providing physical safe spaces by helping mosque and community leaders deal with any misguided individuals.
Over the past year, MPAC has researched and worked with imams, counselors, youth workers and community leaders to create a toolkit to help develop the understanding and requisite tools to address violent extremism.
About the Paper
The Safe Spaces Initiative paper gives community leaders a toolkit to address signs of violent extremism. The strategies focus on awareness and dialogue so that those on the fringe never find a receptive community nor have a chance to go down a violent path.
The publication serves two purposes:
Information & context
Responsibly inform our community leaders of the limited, yet real challenges that violence and extremism pose.
Tools to empower action Provide tips and tools to deal with problematic situations that may arise.
What is MPAC's PIE Model?
We’ve developed a three-tiered approach to addressing violent extremism -- Prevention, Intervention, Ejection (PIE). Our approach is based on two thoughts:
- A person’s path to violence is unique, gradual & multi-dimensional.
- That path can be stopped, reversed and/or prevented.
The first step focuses on prevention of destructive ideologies or toxic religious narratives, especially those that emanate from the internet and grab hold of our youth. The ideal solution is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place. In this regard, our toolkit provides suggestions that offer healthy outlets and guidance on issues ranging from increasing religious knowledge and political activism training to discussing hot topic issues such as foreign policy, gender relations and alcohol/drug abuse.
The second step is intervention -- by working with those individuals who may be traveling down a dangerous path before they commit to violence. Not every case of extremism has to end in an arrest or someone getting hurt. We believe the best approach in these situations, based on our research, is similar to plans created by schools and universities to prevent violent tragedies such as those at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech University.
The last resort is ejection. If there is no way to convince an individual to move away from an act of violence, communities should work toward safely removing that individual from the congregation and contacting law enforcement.
Additional publications on the subject of identity, extremism and young people.
- When Your Son Is a Suicide Bomber (Yahoo News)
- White House’s Strategy on Countering Violent Extremism
- MPAC, American Muslims Featured in Congressional Report on Countering Violent Extremism
- Tarin Speaks on ISPU Panel about Countering Violent Extremism
- MPAC, 'One of the Key Players in the Counter-Radicalization Debate'
- The Washington Post Publishes Al-Marayati's Op-ed on Need to Counter Violent Extremism
- MPAC Tackles Violent Extremism and Online Radicalization at Two DC Events
- Frequently Asked Questions: About MPAC's National Anti-Terrorism Campaign
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