In a new strategic initiative to counter violent extremism, renowned Muslim theologians have joined world-class scholars to produce academically rigorous applied research on “the ideology of religious hatred, supremacy and violence that animates Islamist terrorism.” VORTEX also aims to “contribute to developing the societal consensus, and sound government policies, that are necessary to marginalize, discredit and defeat Islamist extremism,” the group adds:
VORTEX combines academic rigor with theological expertise and generations of experience countering extremist ideology and movements. European partners Dr. Rüdiger Lohlker, Dr. Nico Prucha and Dr. Ali Fisher monitor, grade and evaluate jihadist content on the internet and social media; document jihadist networks; and collect the Arabic and non-Arabic language hash tags used by ISIS to disseminate its messages worldwide. This includes:
- Systematic analysis of extremist ideology and movements. This work is conducted primarily in Arabic, since that is the primary language employed to create and disseminate extremist propaganda. However, it also entails analyzing various “mutations” of extremist propaganda that target audiences using English, German, French, Indonesian, etc.;
- Promotion of the highly successful model employed by Indonesian clerics to address the threat of religious hatred and extremism. VORTEX is positioning this “Indonesian approach” as a model for Western countries to study, and examine how and to what extent key elements of this model are applicable to individual Member States within the European Union;
- Deciphering and contextualizing the core of extremist ideology, in cooperation with Muslim clerics acting on both a local and international basis. Our objective is to compete with extremist ideology on a global basis; contest the “monopoly on truth” that Islamist movements have claimed for decades; undermine their digital hegemony; and, ultimately, dismantle their ability to project strategic influence in the Muslim world and the West.