Countering Extremism: Dismantling an Ideology Through the Power of Ideas

Mar 19, 2015

Here in America we're taught to celebrate ideas, to think outside the box and to fan the flames of innovation whenever possible. But what do we do when an idea becomes destructive? And even worse; when that idea becomes an ideology?

This is the prospect we're facing with extremism around the world. Now America, a nation well adapted to win wars by conventional means, is being forced onto a battlefield it's less accustomed to-- one where social media, propaganda and targeted messaging are the weapons of choice.

But the U.S. is starting to fight back. Recognizing the need to counter recruitment efforts by ISIS and others, the government is devoting significant resources towards developing its own online presence.

Through official U.S. Twitter accounts designed to expose the hypocrisy of jihadist thinking, to the utilization of Arab speaking agents to infiltrate extremist discussion forums, The U.S. is learning that the war of ideas is being waged on the web.

And it's not just the U.S. that's fighting this unconventional battle. Muslim's around the world, concerned with the perversion of their religion and culture, are taking steps to spread a message of peace and tolerance.

Through channels such as the Fikra forum and the Muslim founded think tank, Muflehun, those whose hearts and minds are at the center of this ideological contest are pushing back.

Today we speak with experts in these areas about the current international efforts to fight extremist ideas.

Please leave comments below, email us at colin@wnpr.org, or tweet us @wnprcolin.


Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.