The League of Ulema, Preachers and Imams of the Sahel Countries: Communication to counter extremism


An article from L’Expression

The ulema, imams and preachers of the Sahel countries must imperatively use modern means of communication to counter the threat of religious and violent extremism. Extremism is changing fast. To counter it, you need a quick adaptation. In other words, the fight against extremist ideologies and violent discourses that currently use the Web and social networks must use the same communication media.

It is to allow the League of Ulema, Preachers and Imams of the Sahel Countries to achieve this goal that the [Algerian] Minister of Communication, Djamel Kaouane, received yesterday its secretary general, Youcef Belmehdi. According to a communiqué from the Ministry of Communication, Djamel Kaouane “listened, during this interview, to a presentation by Youcef Belmehdi on the activities of the League of Ulema Sahel whose principles are the peaceful coexistence with other religions and the rejection of all kinds of extremism”.

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Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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The meeting also allowed them to “review the means likely to be implemented by the communication to popularize and promote the message of tolerance and moderation advocated by this association,” says the same source. It must be said that the ulema, imams and preachers of the Sahel countries have an important mission to accomplish, that of fighting through information and sensitization against religious extremism in the region. The latter must therefore use modern means of communication to succeed in their awareness campaign.

In order to realize this preventive mission to counter the threat of religious and violent extremism, and to carry out this struggle upstream, the League has set up a program involving the intervention of imams and preachers on the Web and social networks. This “incursion” of members of the League in the virtual world, will allow to do a work of counter-propaganda blocking the road to dormant cells of extremist groups who indoctrinate and recruit victims on social networks.

The other field on which the League of Ulema, preachers and imams of the Sahel countries, wants to weigh, is that of the universities. It should be recalled that last October, the League in collaboration with the African Center for Studies and Research on Terrorism (CAERT) agreed to develop a training program for African imams and preachers. The program plans to provide Africans with the Algerian experience in preventing violent extremism and terrorism.

The League had previously organized the first training cycle for imams members of the League, which focused on topics such as “optimizing the use of the media” by imams and preachers, “the reform in Islam “and” the role of zakat and wakf in resolving social problems “.

Created in January 2013 in Algiers, the League of Ulema, preachers and imams of the Sahel works to spread the culture of peace and to ban violence and extremism in this region. It brings together ulema, preachers and imams from the region’s member countries of the League, namely Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, as well as three observer countries under of the Nouakchott Process, namely Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea.