September 9, 2013



The result of a groundbreaking global investigation, this report uncovers

new tactics to effectively limit recruitment by extremist groups.

NEW YORK –  The Qatar International Academy for Security Studies (QIASS) released the results of their yearlong global investigation into countering violent extremism (CVE). Today, in conjunction with this release, QIASS is hosting a Global Town Hall to analyze the findings of the report, and discuss new tactics to fight the roots of terror with experts from around the world.

The groundbreaking investigation was led by Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who investigated and supervised a series of high profile terrorism cases, from the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole to the aftermath of 9/11.  The experienced team of investigators—all former top law enforcement, intelligence, and counterterrorism officials—traveled around the world, visiting more than a dozen key countries, studying extremist groups, and interviewing members, as well as those in government responsible for tackling the program.

“In the past month, the world has witnessed renewed threats from Al Qaeda and wrestled with the challenges of ensuring long-term stability in Syria and other areas where civil unrest and terrorist activity mingle dangerously,” said Ali Soufan, Executive Director of QIASS. “As we approach the 12th anniversary of 9/11, we must reinvigorate our global efforts to stop terrorism at its roots by confronting the narratives of extreme violence that spur vulnerable recruits to radicalize in the first place. The findings of our exhaustive investigation provide a roadmap for leaders who are serious about countering violent extremism in all regions of the world, regardless of ideology.”

This investigation report is designed to improve the way governments and NGOs deal with violent extremism, by countering the narratives that terrorist groups use to attract recruits, and educating prospective extremists with alternative paths and alternative futures. Despite the significant progress made in degrading and decimating the leadership of extremist organizations –it’s clear that the battle to win the hearts and minds of those who might be swayed to join terrorist groups continues.

Each region, country, and community requires a unique approach to CVE because violent extremism is a fundamentally local issue, often sparked by local grievances. There is no cookie-cutter approach, but in the team’s many hours of investigation around the globe, they uncovered certain tactics that are more effective in promoting counter-narratives—including the involvement of rehabilitated, former terrorists, as well as participation by religious leaders and community resiliency groups, among others.

Despite the local nature of extremist groups, it is clear that their global reach is quickly expanding. The report finds that the proliferation of the Internet and social networking has made recruitment much easier, while also giving individuals a forum for increased self-radicalization online. Fortunately, this same technology can be alternatively leveraged in a positive way, educating and exposing prospective extremists to alternative narratives that do not lead to a life of violence. Education is the enemy of extremism, and there is much that can be done to utilize both traditional and new media to inform individuals and deter extremist recruitment.

These are among the investigation’s findings, to read the final report in its entirety and hear more about the investigation, please contact

The Global Town Hall on Countering Violent Extremism, being held today, simultaneously in New York, Belfast, Dakar, and Singapore, will bring together world leaders, global counterterrorism officials and experts from around the world to discuss the report and have a frank conversation about CVE tactics in the face of an evolving global threat picture.

The Qatar International Academy for Security Studies is a professional institute serving to raise security standards, knowledge, and cooperation within the Gulf region and across the world. QIASS prepares organizations for the complex challenges of today’s world through exceptional training and innovative techniques, by facilitating excellence in education and research, and by forging lasting security partnerships across nations and cultures. Serving multiple market sectors around the world—including governmental, commercial, and non-profit groups—QIASS works collaboratively, often partnering with leading global education and strategic policy organizations to ensure the best product and result.

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