Challenging Extremist Ideology, Propaganda and Messaging: Building the Counternarrative

News | May 07, 2015

On April 28-29, experts gathered in Istanbul to discuss the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and how to craft a successful counternarrative to ISIS’ ideological propaganda.

ISIS has succeeded in developing enhanced methods of communicating their ideology and propaganda to appeal to thousands of youths from the around the world in an effort to recruit them to fight for ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The conference, organized by the EastWest Institute in cooperation with the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, featured experts in policy, theology, deradicalization and counterterrorism practice, and social media from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the U.S. Participants analyzed and debated tools and methods used for recruiting and disseminating propaganda and messaging by extremist groups, the role of religious institutions, past and present deradicalization efforts, and the conditions and challenges to crafting a successful and appealing counter-narrative to ISIS’s ideological propaganda.

The conference was followed by a public panel debate at Kadir Has University entitled “Key Strategies in Countering Extremism: Experiences from the MENA Region and Pakistan.” EWI’s Vice President for Regional Security, Amb. Martin Fleischer gave opening remarks and supporting comments were provided by Manal Omar, Vice President at United States Institute of Peace, and Shafqat Mehmood, Founder and Chairman of PAIMAN Trust Alumni. The Discussion was moderated by Serhat Güvenç, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences at Kadir Has University.

*A comprehensive report will follow in the next days. 


Photographer: Ulaş Tosun