-- CEP Europe Uniting Individuals And Groups From The U.S., Belgium, And Germany To Fight Extremism And Radicalisation Across Two Continents With New Campaigns To Counter Extremist Narratives And Halt Social Media Exploitation
BRUSSELS, June 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented effort to combat extremism, the Counter Extremism Project Europe (CEP Europe) is uniting individuals and groups across Europe to counter radicalisation at its core. CEP Europe will begin its work by unveiling a double-pronged campaign to counter extremist recruitment messaging and disrupt extremist digital media strategies.
The new entity expands the reach of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a non-profit, non-partisan policy and advocacy organisation launched in the United States in 2014.
With operations in Berlin, and Brussels, CEP Europe will strengthen the efforts of CEP to expose extremist financing; rally public support for programmes to counter the narrative of extremists; and advocate for effective laws, policies and regulations that promote freedom, security and tolerance.
CEP and CEP Europe are led by a renowned group of former diplomats, government officials and private-sector leaders, including former U.S. Homeland Security Advisor and CEP President Fran Townsend and Roberta Bonazzi, founder of the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) and head of CEP Europe's office in Brussels.
CEP Europe's formation reflects the recognition that governments alone cannot respond to the growing threat posed by extremist propaganda and radicalisation strategies. Private groups have a significant role to play in addressing the most critical global security challenge of our time.
CEP Europe's new counter-narrative programme for vulnerable, at-risk populations will emphasise an alternative method of deployment. The campaign will target actors with an outsized ability to reach and influence young people – educators, social workers and respected community leaders. Roberta Bonazzi has worked to counter radicalisation through EFD since its inception in 2005, and in 2010 launched a network of European Muslim activists who are working at the local level to counter Islamic extremism.
CEP Europe is also unveiling a new digital disruption campaign. Expanding on CEP's success in identifying and urging social media platforms such as Twitter to remove extremist English language accounts, the new organisation will target extremist misuse of Twitter by German, Turkish, French and Italian speakers. CEP Europe will find, translate and expose violent and threatening content, illustrating to Twitter that recent measures to crack down on English-language incitement are not sufficient to address today's global extremist threat.
CEP Europe will officially launch with a news conference at 12:30 p.m. local time in Brussels on 29thJune at the Brussels Press Club Europe. At 3 p.m.Brussels time the same day, a Twitter Q&A will be held with CEP Europe principals.
CEP leaders set to speak at the event are Dr. August Hanning, decorated diplomat and former head of the German intelligence service who will head CEP operations in Berlin;Jiri Schneider, former First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Czech Republic and a member of the CEP Europe Advisory board; former U.S. Senator, Democratic nominee for vice-president in 2000 and CEP Advisory Board memberJoseph Lieberman; and Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, the CEO of CEP and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Management Reform.
CEP launched in the U.S. in September, 2014. Since that time, CEP has initiated several campaigns with notable results, including:
Establishing the #CEPDigitalDisruption campaign, which exposes extremists who use social media to propagandise, recruit and incite others to violence. CEP has pressured Twitter to remove hundreds of extremist accounts and change its policies regarding the posting of violent content.
Disrupting the financial underpinnings of extremist groups. The government of The Gambia, following a CEP investigation, ordered U.S. sanctioned Hezbollah funder Husayn Tajideen to cease all of his business activities there and leave the country.
CEP has recently persuaded Western Union and DHL to sever reported links to terror-financing entities and prevent these entities from misusing reputable businesses.
Building an extensive research database on extremist groups, their leaders and their networks of support, and advocating for targeted legislation aimed at those who misuse social media to provide "material support" to terrorists.
ABOUT CEP: The Counter Extremism Project is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, international policy organisation formed to address the threat from extremist ideology. It does so by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for effective laws, policies and regulations.
CEP uses its research and analytical expertise to build a global movement against the threat to pluralism, peace and tolerance posed by extremism of all types. In the United States, CEP is based in New York City with a team in Washington, D.C.
ABOUT EFD: The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) is a policy institute based in Brussels that is dedicated to upholding Europe's fundamental values of democratic governance, political pluralism, individual liberty and religious tolerance. EFD identifies constructive approaches to address threats to Europe's security and freedoms from individuals and states that espouse radical, extremist ideologies. EFD works with grassroots activists, media, policy experts and government officials in and outside Europe to advance our mission – and to transform ideas into action.
EFD has shaped the debate with cutting-edge research that is central to some of Europe's most crucial domestic and international policy agendas. EFD regularly and extensively briefs European officials, politicians, diplomats and media members.