This response to Mohammed Abu-Nimer’s 'Alternative Approaches to Transforming Violent Extremism. The Case of Islamic Peace and Interreligious Peacebuilding' is focused on the question of what makes prevention of violent extremism approaches effective. It will explore in more detail some of the points raised in the lead article related to an insufficient understanding of structural drivers of violent extremism (VE), the limited evidence base and research in relation to the ‘prevention’ or ‘countering’ of violent extremism (P/CVE), unrealistic donor expectations, and weak and externally imposed programme designs. It specifically responds to the encouragement of Abu-Nimer’s request to “delve deeper” into analysing structures of violence, not only the symptoms (Abu-Nimer 2018, 17).
This article will explore how to maximise the potential for positive peace impacts of different approaches to preventing violent extremism by applying principles from the peacebuilding field and a systems perspective.
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