We were thrilled to welcome our new group of participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon and Slovakia into ‘The Mitigating Online Radicalization and Hate Speech’ program, kindly supported by the European Union and the Anna Lindh Foundation and implemented with our partners Strategic Analysis from Slovakia and Aie Serve from Lebanon.
After a short welcome and introduction by all partners, we moved on with a session on the topic of radicalization and violent extremism with Lukáš Zorád, Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia (PDCS). Participants were able to learn about what these terms represent in different societies and what are the push and pull factors drawing people towards extremism. These factors were demonstrated through examples of real-life stories by former extremists who are now working to de-radicalize others who are pulled into extremism.
We continued ‘The Mitigating Online Radicalization and Hate Speech’ program, with Tijana Cvjetićanin, UG ‘Zašto ne’, Istinomjer. Tijana engaged our young participants in a lively conversation about the new conspiracy theories showing up on social media, forums or the fringes of the internet where various emerging conspiracy theories, which are arising every day, are encouraging radical and extreme point of views and actions all over the world. Participants also discussed the right-wing and left-wing conspiracy theories and radicalization and demonstrated that they are very much familiar with different platforms which promote such radical theories.
Final session of Day 1 of the online workshop was dedicated to the topic of multiculturalism and we were joined by Jean-Paul Chami, consultant on Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation. Jean-Paul guided the participants into the topic by sharing his personal experiences related to identity and nationality he experiences as French-Lebanese person and the process of radicalization and de-radicalization he says that no one is immune to, even himself. Participants engaged in a lively discussion about their own identities, prejudices, stereotypes etc.
Day 2 of the ‘Mitigating Online Radicalization and Hate Speech’ 1st Online Workshop started off with Milica Pralica from Oštra Nula, Banja Luka, on the topic of grass-root movements and civil society organizations as an active part of bringing solutions to citizens and communities. Our participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina were as curious to know more about Milica’s decade-long experience of fighting for the rights of citizens in Banja Luka, as our participants from Slovakia and Lebanon who had many questions for Milica during the session.
We were joined by Samet Shabani, Horizon Civitas for the final session of the first online workshop of The Mitigating Online Radicalization and Hate Speech program. Session was dedicated to the topic of narratives and counter-narratives of extremist propaganda in the online sphere. Before delving into a very lively discussion on how our participants define and view extremism, they learned about what elements within a mind set of a person makes them prone to become radicalized, and about how online sphere shapes our behavior, how people are targeted online by extremist groups etc.
The Mitigating Online Radicalization and Hate Speech 1st Online Workshop was successfully wrapped up! Thank you to our wonderful group of participants, our partners Strategic Analysis SK and Aie Serve and our donors the European Union and the Anna Lindh Foundation.
Next workshop is scheduled in March and we are already excited for it to begin. See you soon!