A group of Chadians has founded a center dedicated to the study and prevention of violent extremism and the deradicalization of jihadists.
This founders of the center in N’Djamena, Chad, hope it will become a research and study laboratory, with communication organs, including a journal, and programs to rehabilitate and deradicalize former extremists.
Ahmat Yacoub Dabio, an advisor working in the Chadian government who specializes in human rights advocacy and mediation, is one of the driving forces behind the project. He said it is a deeply personal cause born out of Chad’s turbulent period that lasted from 1965 to 2000. “My mother and my sister were killed before my eyes while I was an adolescent,” he told the magazine Le Point. “My friends then convinced me to join the rebellion. Today, I want for young people to understand that political or religious violence leads to nothing.”
In a speech at the inauguration, Dabio said the center aims to translate academic research into practical solutions for combating extremism. “This worldwide phenomenon knows neither color nor borders; we all must do what we can to eradicate it,” he said. “This is the time to underline that extremism has no religion because no religion in the world tolerates barbery.”
Ahmed Ayong, an Islamic scholar and socio-anthropologist at the Cameroon Institute of International Relations, hailed the initiative and hopes it will not be limited to Chad. “It is essential to call on subregional expertise; Cameroon, Gabon, all the countries of Central Africa must be involved; Chad must contact our universities, our research centers to broaden the scope of reflection. … Working in the long term to make it an African initiative … Chad can become a recognized international center,” Ayong said, according to africanews.com.