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Open – About the project

The problem of Islamic radicalization of society is shared among all EU Member States and is mining both security, democratic values, and human rights. In this framework, OPEN intends to counter this phenomenon in a strategic bottom-up integrated approach by weakening the foundations of the enrolment process, i.e. Increasing resiliency of those at risk of radicalization and questioning certainties among radicalized youth.

The project aims to fight against the online radicalization process in the cities of Rome, Nice, Strasbourg, Berlin, and Elche (and related regions), through an online communication campaign that leverages the root and credibility of CSOs and the know-how of an institutional communication agency.

In this framework, OPEN aims to reach the following specific objects:

  • To improve the critical capacity of Muslim youth at risk of radicalization against Islamic extremist online propaganda
  • To stimulate a cognitive opening between young radical Muslims
  • To increase the skills of civil society organizations and grassroots movements linked to the Muslim youth network and encourage them to use the OPEN model as a daily online activity
  • To sensitize the institutions on the main characteristics of youth radicalization in the regions of reference and on the power of online activism.

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Target

Primary targets of the project are

  • Muslim youth (16-25 y/old) at major risk of radicalization, (ie mostly in disadvantaged neighbourhoods or families, outside social agencies like school or work)
  • already radicalized, (ie. disseminating violent Islamic propaganda online and performing Islamic violent speech) living in the mentioned regions.

CSOs and grassroots movements are also targets of this project as far as they were supported with communication tools to fight against radicalization.

Finally, OPEN addresses also stakeholders and institutions in order to raise awareness on the issue related to the project goals and to developer coherent policy to counter this phenomenon.

Expected impact

1) A better understanding of the use of social media by targets in the spread of radicalized behaviors in selected areas and how to face it

2) Enhancing critical thinking of Muslim youth at risk of radicalization against Islamic extremist propaganda online.

3) Stimulate a ‘cognitive opening’ among radical Muslim youth.

4) Empower CSOs and grass-root movements related to the Muslim youth network and push them to use OPEN model as daily online activity

5) Raise awareness among institutional stakeholders on the major features of youth radicalization in reference regions and the power of online activism

Activities

The path foreseen by OPEN consists in:

  • A background study to identify the main features of target groups and reference phenomenon
  • An online communication campaign made by the partner CSOs and other activists mobilized, properly trained and guided by communication experts
  • Offline interventions strengthening the online campaign and empowering CSOs responsible for it
  • Evaluation of the impact of the project