Fighting Islamophobia and Preventing the Rise of Far-Right Extremism — Denmark & Jordan


ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: training course for youth workers

Dates & venues:

  • 1. training course: Ganløse, Denmark, 15—21 July 2023
  • 2. training course: Amman, Jordan, 12—18 October 2023

Czech team: three participants

Please read the info-pack

Hosting organisation: Copenhagen Youth Network

Project report:

Fighting Islamophobia and Preventing the Rise of Far-Right Extremism, Denmark

From 15-21 July 2023, Fighting Islamophobia and Preventing the Rise of Far-Right Extremism took place in Ganløse, Denmark, bringing together three dozen young people from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Together they explored Islam and possible manifestations of extremism against its suppression both in the European context and from the perspective of Islamic countries.

Basic concepts

After the necessary introductions and a few ice-breaking activities, we got straight down to the business of identifying the various terms that relate to the project’s theme and thus getting a clear idea of what we will be talking about over the next few days:

  • Terrorism – a politically, ideologically or religiously motivated act against a government, the public or any section thereof, accompanied by violence or damage to property, public space or the system
  • Extremism – an extreme view against a particular opinion or entity, not accompanied by violence, according to the model of McCauley and Moskalenko in 2014, extremism is divided into opinion and behavioral. In the pyramid of an opinion, we observe degrees of neutrality, sympathizer, advocate and personal moral obligation. The behavioral, or act pyramid, then depicts the degrees of internal act, activist (protest), radical act (illegal), and terrorism (with the intent to kill). 
  • Hate crime (crime with a motive of violence) – this is a crime based on the characteristics of the person attacked; that is, it is motivated by who the person attacked is, but not by what they do; it can be violence based on disability, gender, race, identity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. 
  • Hate speech – any communication that hurts, humiliates or discriminates against a person without further reference
  • Islamophobia – fear, prejudice, hatred of Muslims posing threats, harassment, abuse, incitement and intimidation. It can be an individual or institutional act.


Narratives, or how we talk about extremism

A big incentive for such extreme behaviour is also the way in which the acts or manifestations in question are spoken about, or with what intention the facts are presented or emotionally coloured. In general, we distinguish the following ways:

  • Acceleration – for example, an event in New Zealand that was pre-announced via Telegram and streamed online, where people took it as a LARP or a video with gamification elements and there was online incitement to violence
  • Conspiracy theory – this is a type of storytelling in which it is difficult to distinguish elements of fiction from fact, where the real purpose is to lead the reader into a vicious circle so that they will believe even untruths or half-truths that are rarely logical but produce strong and borderline emotional responses (often supplying the reader with the answer to what should be done to simply solve the problem)
  • Extreme right-wing ways of communicating influence:
    • Identity struggle – “my identity is threatened by someone else from another group”.
    • Masculinity – men should follow their natural “hunting” urge more
    • Government favoring certain ethnic or religious groups at the expense of the majority
    • Governments, EU, NATO, UN buy too much power
    • Earth is running out of resources, with the balance not being adequately distributed to meet the needs of all
  • – So-called New Forms of Terrorism and ways of communicating their main principles:
    • Anarchism – government is the only common enemy of different groups 
    • Nationalism and anti-colonialism – “our nation” above all
    • New Left Extremism – a war of “legitimate” groups
    • Religious extremism – religiously motivated extremism that has been manifested since the 1980s


Push and pull factors

In extremism, we also distinguish so-called push and pull factors. Pull factors are those that pull the individual from the outside, when he has no choice but to go “for better tomorrows, greater opportunities, etc.” Pressure factors are those that force the individual to leave the environment in which they can no longer live (e.g. they are too discriminated against, the area in which they live is inhospitable and cannot continue to live there, etc.). The clash of identity and ideology is also often discussed here. 

Within these factors, we then distinguish so-called micro-factors, i.e. aspects that help the individual to meet their needs:

  • Personal – if there is a threat to me or my loved ones
  • Group – if the individual is part of a larger group of people
  • Slippery slope – progressive behaviour leading to more radical actions
  • Helper – the individual is themselves radicalised when they try to help someone else already expressing extremist tendencies
  • Status seekers – individual wishes to gain power, dominance, fame and take risks 
  • Escape – this is a push factor that draws the individual into a new reality; can happen accidentally
  • “unfreezing” – opening up to new people


Extremist groups use various forms of propaganda to publicise their intentions. The following propaganda methods can be distinguished: 

  • Bandwagon effect – everyone is doing it, you should do it too
  • Testimonial – statements by well-known personalities or experts (often illegitimate)
  • Grassroots appeal – an idea or person that is associated with ordinary people (“I’m just like you, so what I’m saying affects you, and you should take it into account.”)
  • Glittering generalities – frequent use of words with positive emotional overtones (justice, freedom, etc.)
  • Personal attack or name-calling – associating a person with a name, idea or image in a negative sense, where the speaker completely avoids the subject itself; used to discredit and denigrate the person

In communication, extremist groups also often use arguments full of logical fallacies to achieve their goals. We can distinguish several cases of these communication fallacies:

  • Slippery slope – small steps that lead to a chain reaction of big changes, ignoring the necessary step between these states; for example, If you start smoking cigarettes, you will soon end up in hard drugs.
  • Card stacking – accepting material completely without its original context, piling new and new contextually unrelated arguments on top of it
  • Hasty generalization – inductive reasoning that is based on drawing conclusions without applying sufficient evidence
  • Beginning the question – repeating the statement “A is true because it is true”
  • Straw man – distraction; e.g. How could he cheat on his taxes if he is such a good father?
  • Non sequiter – inference without assumption; for example, A is equal to B and A is equal to C, then A must be equal to C
  • Guilt by association – false correlation between two events
  • Faulty cause/effect – Unrelated cause and effect, e.g. We have been in business for fifty years and therefore our products are the best. 
  • – Either/or (Either/or fallacy) – polarity, without specifying a spectrum of possibilities between the extremes; for example, You are with us or you are against us. 

Very often, it also works with emotions and emotional blackmail. In the messages, we then distinguish, for example, appeals to fear, guilt, participation or status.


Social media and gamification

Social media, gamification and online space in general play a major role in radicalisation and extremism today. For example, memes are widely used in the shared chat space. This is one of the many forms of propaganda that is very difficult to sanction and ban, as it is a form of entertainment and an online entertainment industry. Often the public does not even know that it may be promoting extremism. It uses a symbol or a character out of context, which is then put into a different context – for example, the cartoon character Pepe the Frog, or the twin numbers 88 or 14. It often uses elements of humour to easily evoke repressed emotions, and is a bonding element between those who get the joke and those who do not – for example, YODO = You only die once. Online space also plays a large role in extremism, where, for example, on platforms such as 4chan and 8con, in addition to the originally intended exchange of animated images and GIFs, threads promoting this extremist ‘fun’ behaviour have also emerged.

Extremists then often refer to themselves as “red-pilled”, i.e. those who, like the Matrix, have seen the light and now see reality for what it is. Whereas they label others as “normies”, a kind of “herd normals” who understand nothing and have no critical thinking skills. One of the extreme groups, including the American Elliot Rodger, for example, are the so-called “incells”, i.e. men who throw themselves into voluntary celibacy, later exhibiting elements of mysoginism and hatred of women.


Gamification often manifests itself in the case of online streaming or online gaming, which targets the entire strategy of the game or the reality depicted towards one group, thus promoting competition and strong hatred towards these people. Thus, the black market is populated by well-known games such as the shooter Counter-strike or the racing game Theft-auto, which have been modified in various ways to encourage the murder of only one ethnic group during missions or to rob only those with the same type of appearance, etc. And rather than banning these games and removing them from the online space, which won’t be effective anyway due to the large mass of people re-uploading and sharing, we need to highlight the problem and educate all potential players against their unfortunate influence. Constantly remind them of what is reality and what is just a game. Because especially during the covid lockdown period, this strategy to extremise individuals has become unprecedentedly successful and has caused several unfortunate events.


Local situation

It was also interesting to observe and uncover in the discussions the realities of the countries we gathered from in Denmark. For example, that Morocco has pushed for the establishment of 15 March as the International Day for the Fight against Islam. In Jordan, there is a proliferation of fake imams who recruit their followers for suicide missions under the auspices of the religious services, which even the local people fear. The younger generation in Turkey is leaning more and more towards atheism, and what a role President Erdogan is playing in this. In Egypt, they even have an institute, the Observatory of Islamophobia, which has been working since 2015 to combat extremist tendencies and to bring about greater cooperation between the Christian and Muslim communities in the country. In Hungary, there is currently a very right-wing Prime Minister who is encouraging a xenophobic debate in society. Germany is experiencing a social crisis in which more than 60% of local people are afraid just to meet a Muslim out on the street (even though they have never actually known one personally), as a public survey has shown. And a France teetering on the edge between freedom of speech and expression and the fight against discrimination and hate speech, with the Charlie Habdo incident still vividly remembered today. There are over 200 mosques in Denmark, and the coexistence of all religious groups seems to be more peaceful, given the economic benefits they bring to the country. Similarly, the situation in the Netherlands is less extreme than in other countries, despite isolated incidents of protests, minority extremist political parties, etc. In Bulgaria, there is a large ethnic minority of Turks and Muslims, so they are seen as one of the locals, and conversely, hate speech there targets Roma and members of the LGBTQ+ community rather than Muslims, even after the refugee wave in recent years.

Life on the project

In addition to a lot of theory, which gave us the basis for many discussions and debates both during programme time and during breaks and in the evenings, we also had the opportunity to try out many of the activities ourselves. For example, to try to draw a person who could most easily experience hate speech in a European context and then to think about their background, what helps them, what they would need to fulfil their own needs and how they experience such hate speech emotionally. Or, we tried a simulated debate about basic human values, with half of us taking a yes view and looking for suitable arguments, and the other half taking a no view. We also got to experience first-hand what it is like to be a member of a minority or disadvantaged group, and had to use a step forward to illustrate whether our character could afford it or not – it was nice to see afterwards that sometimes it matters what cards fate has dealt us. In addition, we also tried to find examples of fallacies of reasoning from real statements on the internet that would serve as propaganda for right-wing extremism – and some of the examples were truly almost incomprehensible.

Every evening, except the first and last, we also had an intercultural evening, where each country presented us with a curiosity, a game, a dance or brought something good to taste from their own country. Moreover, that we always enjoyed it so much that we did not go to bed before midnight any day. I was especially captivated by the Bulgarian bride-stealing activity, the physically demanding but beautiful Jordanian dabke dance or the tongue twisters (understand, basic phrases) in Arabic prepared by the Egyptian team. 

I am grateful to Yoana for the valuable insight she provided in just a few days, and for her perspective on the many cases and examples we encountered during the program. I also thank Szeherezada for the examples of grant opportunities and her clear explanation of all the organizational details involved in the project. And, of course I am grateful to Halmat for organizing and covering the whole event. Finally yet importantly, I would also like to thank the Erasmus+ programme for co-financing the project and making it possible for me to go to Denmark.

Lada Matyášová

Report from the 2nd training course in Amman, Jordan, 12-18 October 2023

Fighting islamophobia and preventing the far-right extremism in Jordan

In between 12. – 18. October 2023 I took part at the training course called Fighting islamophobia and preventing the far-right extremism in Jordan.

The event was only five days long, but it was continuing the first more theoretical part we experienced in July in Denmark. Three days were full of work in a training venue, two we went for a field trip excursion. In a group of almost thirty people, we discussed the situations in our countries about islamophobia; we could compare it with the situation in Jordan, and the top of that we could also have in our heads the recently started conflict in a neighbouring country.


First, we learnt a lot about the terrorism in general. That 37 % of terrorist attacks were done by far right extremists, usually toward worship places or gathering through holidays. Weapons used were knifes, bombs, machine guns, homemade bombs etc. That very common space for recruiting the people is internet, where especially young people are vulnerable.

Huge problem in many counties is also the conflict in between of a freedom of speech and hate speech, when in some of the countries is legal to bring somebody to a court based on offensive comments. What could help the situation in general is to improve the relationship between various stakeholders, like mosques and local community leaders.

Local realities and solutions

A great value of international meeting of people is the possibility to get to know the real situation in their countries, and hear many stories from their own lives by own ears. It is an amazing was of how to build an empathy and mitigate prejudices as much as support understanding and unity.


In Turkey there is lately a phenomenon called “Turkophobia”, when migrants and other minorities are decomposing the structure of a homogenous country and creating a fuzz around it.

In 2021, there were an incident, where some man were screaming to a lady: “We don’t want people wearing hijab in Turkey!” Lately the police came and arrested him. 

And there was an peculiar situation in one of the beach clubs in Izmir, when women wearing hijab, men wearing long sleeves and pants were banned by bodyguards from this place. It was seen not only as a case of islamophobia, but probably also misogynist.


The most common places of where a hate speech and discrimination happens in Germany are schools, hospitals and public space.Solutions to lower the cases of islamophobia:

  • Intersectional education: Should a religion be a school subject? It would help the acceptance of the various religions around the world, but also probably supporting the questioning of the stated truths and attributes. The solution could be to take religious texts as cases from a point of view of literature, politics, and history.
  • Very simple thing is also to have more people representing the minorities in a public space, that public would be more used and familiar with them as members of a certain group, or as with individuals.
  • How to support better understanding: interfaith dialog, visible cooperation between diverse religions …
  • Violent prevention network is monitoring interfaith dialog that is very diverse in each country (full of mistrust from members of the Muslim communities, refusal of connection between them and major population, and others). Their goal is to mitigate the difference gap and broader the understanding.


Similarly as in the Czech Republic, there is not much of interest in Hungary in setting the legislation towards fighting islamophobia. The most of it is based on an EU legislative, which creates an institutional exclusion (there is not much clear about which minority is talked about and it creates rather confusion and mistrust).

Some of the triggers in Hungary are cultural difference, xenophobia, populist political discourse. The most serious incidents involving minorities were some Roma and Muslim serial killers. The most of the victims experience hate speech, insulting, bullying, and rudeness.

Solutions: independent media, interfaith dialog, education reforms, mental health support, legal framework reinforcement.


The most appealing issues that occurred in France lately was a ban of an “abaja” in schools (some sort of a long dress worn mostly by Muslim ethnics). So originally, it is not religious, but cultural dress. 

When a fashion choice became a religious decision? This therefore serves more to raise a provocation and creating a hostile environment for minorities.

In addition, the second issue newly highlighted is that those who commit a hate crime towards minorities are usually seen as mental ill, not terrorists.


In Lebanon is possible to find as well islamophobia as “cristianophobia”. There is eighteen sects in Lebanon – Palestinians, Muslims Sunni or Shiite, Christians orthodox and many others, so you can say it is a melting pot of many people. And. the most recent issue is in between of Hezbollah and other military groups.

There has been seen some manipulation in the media and in schools, and also o lot of extremists groups, like the Soldiers of God. They openly fight against homosexuals and other non-traditional lifestyles by using self-justice in public space. In 2022, a woman was hit by stones for wearing a bikini on a beach in the South of Lebanon. In 2023 despite this, a very first pride took place In the country to support gender minorities, there was an incident in a bar, where a drag queen show took place. They often use also a media manipulation.

Solutions: to establish a good local political situation, that nurture the discussion and understanding.


Many supportive and discouraging non-governmental organizations help minorities and migrants.

Reasons of why the hate crimes happened in Netherlands: political influence, one-sided and biased media, spreading discrimination and hate (burning Quran incidents), economic disparities in work (take our money, steal the jobs), feeding the stereotypes, fear of terrorism.

Possible solutions could be education, good law enforcement to prevent many causes, and a change of a political discourse.


The biased approach in Bulgaria can be traced to the 1970s, when a communist party push against the local Islamic communities and create a scene of them being the separated one. It caused many protest, where many Turks, but also Bulgarians were killed. Now the situation can be described as a psychological barrier towards the Muslims, but also Roma minority, as it seems to become a raising target group of many extremist tendencies.


in Egypt there are raising islamophobic tendencies after the revolution. The reasons can be as well as raising number of people coming from people coming from southern countries in Africa, mostly uneducated, as well as media that support hate and disrespect.

In some of the beaches, there is also a ban of wearing burkini. Moreover, some more expensive cafés in a capital does not allow Arab women wearing hijab to enter, since they argument it is a place for tourist, not locals. So many women wear so called Spanish hijab that is more colourful and stylish as traditional black one.

In addition, when women are in police or army forces, they are not allowed to wear a hijab, but it is mostly for a practical reasons of not get stuck somewhere with it or not be easily grabbed by attacker etc.

Solutions could be either reducing the gap by a government rules, plus high quality of education.


In Morocco there is a trend to keep everything as less Moroccan as possible, when tourists are around (less spicy food, less burkini or hijab around, …). However, mostly even in everyday life the local people are very open with clothing. The only acceptation, where it can be very strict in an area of Morocco, is at French missionary schools (girls were expelled while wearing the traditional clothing). Therefore, the most common narrative in the country is that when people respect the rules, there are no problems. The only strict thing is absolute ban of burkini at swimming pools.


There is a tension present in the country since 2004, which started as a political act, and further creates a polarization of a society. Now it is mostly in this passive-aggressive tone of citizens of rural areas, and in few solitude events against Muslims (protests, burning Quran etc.).

Nevertheless, there are also many organisations supporting Muslims, there is no islamophobia present in universities or in sport communities.

Solution: give the educated people a voice to steer the spotlight from the angry voices of uneducated. Raise empathy, to support and open space for the need of asking difficult questions.

Case studies

  1. A Molotov cocktail in Netherlands

Five men spontaneously came up with the idea of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a mosque in the Netherlands. They did not hit the mosque itself (with founrty people in it) and the fire could be put out easily, but the men were sentenced to from four to five years nevertheless. Their lawyers’ argument was that “incompetence” with which the attack should result in the attack not being classified as terrorism, but the judge disagreed and noted that a “lack of intellect” did not make it less of a terroristic attack.

  • Reasons: revenge, anarchists,
  • Effects: raise fear and islamophobia, supporting extremism, becoming an influence for other criminals
  • Solutions: cameras in more places
  1. Hanau shootings

Nine people were killed and five others wounded in a terrorist shooting spree by a far-right extremist targeting two shisha bars in Hanau, Germany. After the attacks, the gunman returned to his apartment, where he killed his mother and then committed suicide

  • Reasons: mental illness, he heard voices to kill minorities, family upbringing (far right extremist father), outside influence (using his vulnerability)
  • Effects: multiple deaths, threatening letter from his father to others from the victims.
  • Solutions: mental health awareness campaign
  1. Graffiti in Bulgaria

Anti-Muslim graffiti was smeared on the walls of the building of the Chief Mufti’s Office In Bulgaria. Hussein Hafyzov, the Chief Secretary of the Chief Mufti’s Office in Bulgaria, stated that our buildings—administrative ones and mosques in all twelve regional Mufti’s Offices—have been desecrated over fifty times in the last ten years.” Vandalism of mosques and religious buildings in Bulgaria rarely results in arrests or prosecution. Hafyzov reported that vandals were caught in only two or three occasions, and “the very few perpetrators who were caught were not convicted.

  • Reasons: lack of reinforcement, lack of evidence, inadequate legislation, public apathy
  • Effects: fear and insecurity, undermining social cohesion, reinforcement of prejudices, legal impunity, diminished trust in authorities
  • Solution: strengthening Bulgarian law system
  1. Vandals in France

The Mosque of Castres in southern France was vandalized in the night. Swastika in black paint, “Sieg Heil” in German, “France to the French” in French, and “White Power” in English were scrawled on the mosque. Additionally, a pig’s feet was hung on the mosque. (Happened in 2009, 2012, 2015.)

  • Reasons: raise the xenophobia, localised conflicted with matter that is more personal. No violence, just repeating.
  • Effects: disturbing peace in a small region of France, small incident but easy to spark, normalization, maybe creating a new law in order to catch the perpetrators (unknown yet)
  • Solution: less polarization in the media, less controversy
  1. Quran in fire

The Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan has been setting the Quran on fire on several occasions.

  • Reasons: wanted Turkey out of NATO, invading spaces where Islamic communities live,
  • Effects: ban from several countries, radicalisation of others (violent counter protest), starting of a debate (freedom of expression vs. hate crime?), controversial (political advantage)
  • Solution: de-fuel the narrative


Islam facts

Women rights in Islam

In Islam, women’s rights are addressed in the Quran and various Islamic teachings. Some key principles regarding women’s rights in the Quran include:

  • Equality: The Quran emphasizes the fundamental equality of all individuals, regardless of gender. In Surah Al-Ahzab (33:35), it states that Muslim men and women are allies and supporters of one another.
  • Dignity and Respect: Women are to be treated with dignity and respect. The Quran prohibits any form of violence or abuse against women.
  • Property and Inheritance: The Quran outlines rules for the distribution of inheritance, ensuring that women receive their fair share. It acknowledges the rights of women to inherit and own property.
  • Marriage and Consent: The Quran stresses the importance of mutual consent in marriage (Surah An-Nisa, 4:19) and the duty of husbands to provide for their wives.
  • Education and Knowledge: There is no explicit prohibition on women seeking education or acquiring knowledge in the Quran. In fact, seeking knowledge is highly encouraged in Islam.
  • Modesty and Dress Code: The Quran promotes modesty and encourages both men and women to dress modestly. The specific dress code can vary among different interpretations of Islam.

It is important to note that interpretations of Quranic teachings can vary among different cultures and Islamic traditions. Some Islamic countries and communities may have different customs and interpretations regarding women’s rights. Additionally, the Quran is often interpreted in conjunction with Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad) to understand the full context of women’s rights in Islam.


Terrorism is rarely connected with a religious cause. It is mostly an act of an extreme individual or group of people. Its definition is a violence used to pursue a political goal, usually by scaring people and creating a chaos. Sometimes it uses abuse of certain information from Quran, and taking it out of context.

Dress code

Quran states that women needs to cover themselves, and much as men needs to dress modestly. The problem is, that “wearing modesty” can be understand tangible, so physical, or intangible, so based on a feeling we are dressing modestly.

Lately there is a question mark with covering a head that can lead to few diverse interpretations. By covering a head there is also need to cover the chest (using a large scarf). Historically it can come up from desert people, who needed to cover their heads even before Islam in order to protect themselves from the sun and heat. And there is also a cultural aspect of depending on a context in a country we talk about. Many Muslims says, that hijab is obligatory from god, not from other people.

Halal food

Halal food is the opposite of haram food, meaning dirty or not suitable.

Quran advice to do not eat animals, which are used for hard work, like horses, donkeys, and others. However, camels are allowed. There is a few obligations while performing the meat slaughtering: The animal must be alive, there is need to use sharp knife, no electricity or bullets, and the animal needs to be killed just by one cut, when the head goes completely off, or other quick way of a death. In addition, it is recommended to let the blood go out of the body of the animal after killing as fast as possible to avoid contamination the meat with bacteria from it.  It should also be taken out of the herd to prevent the other animals from stress etc. The meat should be also paid with a “clear money”, so not gambled, stolen etc.

Pork is not allowed mostly because the animal is not clean; it usually lives in terrible conditions, so it could be a potential source of many diseases.

Sharia law

The Sharia law are orders coming directly from Allah, but unfortunately might be interpreted in different ways. The other source of laws are faticks, so laws coming from four different schools of Islam. There is the need of five prayers per day, do a voluntarily charity, eat halal food, using a left hand for “dirty business”, prohibition of alcohol, drugs, pork, gambling, …

Some of them also state some punishments, like cutting off a leg or a hand. Nevertheless, nowadays it very hardly ever taken as a hundred percent must to keep.

It says that areas of protection of each Muslim should be in this order: yourself, your family, your religion, your kind, the world.

There is a very different interpretation of a Sharia Law by different countries.

Pillars of Islam

  1. Respect each other
  2. Help each other
  3. Empathy

General solution of islamophobia

  1. Addressing the emotions (you feel afraid – why, what is the source)
  2. Raise empathy and understanding
  3. Present facts

Recreation of the human rights council

Human refugee crisis from Africa to Europe

  • Human trafficking
  • Problems to host migrants in European countries
  • Humanitarian issue

Motions suggested after the discussion

  1. Financing EU fleet and EU Fronts by all countries participating including USA and China – passed
  1. Responsibility on proximate countries and EU to provide Humanitarian Aid to face imminent and grave dangers – passed
  1. Step by Step guide with corporation of EU, Middle East countries, USA UK to stop illegal immigration and human trafficking (Excluding Financial Aid) – passed
  1. To create an information centres (hot spots) in a countries where the refugees come from. – failed


Intersectionality of islamophobia

Everybody have a different personalities inside, so these can be taken as multiple attributes to face islamophobia and racism (further identities), like to be as well African and Muslim, or woman and Muslim. The attributes can be very various: gender identity, sexual orientation, minority, political views, and more.

Dealing with a trauma

Trauma can be hold by many people. Victims of discrimination, or also radicalized people. It is always a very individual process for each person. It can be created by lack of support, stigma, or others. It starts usually as a process of deconstructing somebody’s identity, when the perpetrators are targeting one aspect of a victim’s identity that as unhealed hurt can become a trauma. Trauma has isolating effects, and can be accompanied by many emotional coping mechanism, like shame, aggression, internalization (cry, depression) etc.

Treatment when in process of a radicalization:

  • figure out what is the cause of the trauma
  • emotional regulation (to build an emotional literacy, for the person to be aware of own feelings and further work with them)
  • understand the language and ethnic background, than can connect the victim with the helper, then try to treat the person
  • reduce vulnerability by pleasant experiences (breath work, panic and anxiety mitigation)
  • include family, work with gender role
  • construct new world where the person can succeed (try to help the victim to create a timeline by putting things in the right order, which helps to process), awareness of different roles (realise own triggers), maladaptive patterns (realise negative coping mechanisms)

Overcoming shame and stigma can bring for a victim the scene of being alone. We csn help for example by asking a question: Do you know anyone else who has never been a victim?. It helps to generalize (talk about “a group” not the victim itself as an individual), and bring awareness of a unity and use of a holistic approach.

Different actors in a victimization process

“Selma is an immigrant from Bosnia. Because her family moved to a new house, she had to change school. After a few weeks, she found out from a classmate that her school peers had made a Facebook group called ‘Selma go back to Bosnia’. They published offensive comments about her and posted pictures of her they secretly took at school. They created offensive memes with her pictures.”

  1. The point of view of Selma

She can feel excluded, marginalized, disrespected, also scared and worried about when it will end, or if it will escalate, plus embarrassed. She can have a support from her classmates, family, or school, depending, if she would feel comfortable or uncomfortable to share to issues with them and seek for help.

  1. The point of view of witnesses the situation

The schoolmates can either do not care, either want to support her but not having the courage, or wanting to bully her too, but not wanting to get involved. Teachers could either turn a blind eye on the situation (no support), either deal with bullies and parents (help finding the solution).

  1. The point of view of those, who cause the harm

Perpetrators can feel she is different, an easy target, or just wanting to joke. It can make them feel powerful, and that social media is a safe place to bully (anonymous). Usually it can also accompany the unification, that this bullying of one person by a big group can create a fake courage in individuals of the group,

  1. The point of view of the outside world

It depends on a country. The issue of hating Bosnians could be in certain countries “normalized” (political aspects) – hate based on ethno nationalism. However, in other countries is can feel unusual, so it might be based on not only a nationality, but also more on the islamophobia and other aspects. Potential causes of the situation are marginalized minorities; hate speech in former Yugoslavian countries, increased prejudices, anonymous or public strengthening of hate speech, lack of empathy and critical thinking.


Field trip

As part of the programme there were also two days dedicated to a field trip with the aim of better understanding the Muslim realities and way of life. Therefore, we visited Petra, as the source of the civilization. The Wadi Rum desert in order to catch a glimpse of the nomadic people. In addition, we visited Agaba, a big city in South of Jordan, to have a contrast point in between the capital city, desert lifestyle, and big touristic city at the edge of Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia border.

It was a very interesting, but intensive programme, which opened my eyes more wide than it was before. I feel more connected with people from other cultures, and I am glad I could hear them talking about their real lives. It also helped me to understand many aspects of a Muslim religion, and to be able to dissolve some of my prejudices and stereotypes. And I know, there is still much more to learn and to get to know, but I am already very glad for these competences I could gain in such a short time. And of course, not everything went according to a plan, but it also showed me, how we all as humans from different corners of the world, can be flexible, communicate and cooperate with each other for the best possible result. Thank you, organisers and all the participants; it was a pleasure to be part of this. An Erasmus+ programme supported the training course.


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