Monday 7 November 2016


It is indeed heartwarming that between the 5th and 6th of November, 2016, the Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), trained more than 80 clerics from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the art of de-radicalisation. I am a non-resident Senior Fellow of CDD. To be sure, the manner in which Islamic clerics propagate the message of Islam has been a source of worry vis-a-vis the BH insurgency. Many are of the opinion that some types of preaching could be regarded as inciting. It is not enough to note the pattern followed by such preachers. CDD decided to 'do something' to help the situation.

There has been no formal training by a regionally acknowledged organisation like CDD targeted at clerics on the subject of de-radicalisation of their followers. UNDP Nigeria and the Government of Japan sponsored the workshop.  The photo of the source, 'Countering Violent Extremism Training Manual', from which the themes in this post are derived is shown below. Disclaimer: The views expressed in the themes of the training manual are not necessarily mine.

Some relevant links that informed this post are:

*In Borno, CDD trains 80 clerics on de-radicalisation
*200 religious clerics sensitised to neutralise BH
*Discourse of Violent Extremism (VE)
*Deradicalisation, counter-terrorism & migration in northern Nigeria: Residential training of clerics in the use of counter-radical training material

Five major themes (Modules) were identified in the two-day training/workshop as enunciated in the CDD 'Countering Violent Extremism Training Manual'. The Manual was developed for CDD. Some of the highlights in the Manual are enunciated below:

1) Al-Takfir (Ex-communication)
2) Jihad (Holy War)
3) Acceptance of non-Islamic political authority
4) Peaceful co-existence with non-Muslims
5) Women's status in Islam

*Takfir is derived from the Arabic word, Kufur, which literally means infidelity/unbelief/irreligion/rebuff/rejection/ingratitude...Accusing a Muslim of committing an act of kufur is called takfir. Let there be no compulsion in religion (Quar'an 2:256).

Extremists' understanding of takfir is quite broad, covering so many issues and practices that mainstream Muslims do not associate with kufur at all. In fact most Muslims will not accuse any person of kufur, except in the case of a person who expressly renounces his/her Islamic faith. Even in such a case, there are elaborate procedures to follow before the imposition of any sanctions.

*Jihad: Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who do not fight against you on account of religion and do not send you out of their homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity (Quar'an 60:8)

*Acceptance of non-Islamic political authority: Islam is understood as a complex way of life, covering not only religious beliefs & practices, but also regulating political affairs, social relations, economic activities, cultural identity and norms. Adherents of Islam are considered as a single global community, called the umma, which should be governed by its political institutions and in accordance with the Sharia.

*The status of women in Islam: In general, Islam affirms the humanity of both men and womencreated by the same God for the same purpose. Islam enjoins both men and women on equal footing. The two sexes have the same freedoms and rights before Allah (Quar'an 49:3)

*Peaceful relations with non-Muslims: Islam is understood as a complete way of life, covering not only religious beliefs and practices, but also regulating political affairs, social relations, economic activities, cultural identity and norms. Muslims are considered a single global community, called the umma. The umma should be governed by its political institutions and in accordance with the Sharia.

The training was much more elaborate than I have presented above. There are more details in the CDD Training Manual that informed this post. At the end of the workshop, most of the trainees said they had learnt so much, and would put their newly acquired knowledge to use anytime they preach. It was suggested that the training should be continuous with the aim of ensuring the use of  'moderate' language by preachers, which could eventually translate into the de-radicalisation of their followers.


I suggest the reader digests this blog post pari passu an earlier one: 'Towards an effective strategy on counter insurgency in Nigeria'

Related Links

*What will drive the next generation of Salafi-Jihadis?
*Countering BH ideology
*The ideology to uproot the basis for terrorism, that's creating the world-wide basis for war


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