Friday, September 30, 2022

Ending Violent Extremism In Region: ECOWAS To Train Imams On ICT

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In a bid to end violent extremism which has created a culture of fear, mistrust, insecurity and grave danger to West Africa’s long-term stability and prosperity, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has embarked on strengthening the skills of imams and teachers of Quranic schools in Côte d’Ivoire as a means of broadening the fight against violent extremism and radicalization in the region.

Recognizing education as one of the most essential development tools for the consolidation of peace and the fight against violent extremism, the Department in charge of Education at the ECOWAS Commission had since 2017, initiated train-the-trainer workshops to build the capacity of imams, preachers and Quranic school teachers to prevent violent extremism and radicalization within the Region.

It is also targeted to strengthen the educational content of their teachings and sermons through the use of the ECOWAS Reference Manual on Education for the Culture of Peace.

The 2022 edition of training with the theme “prevention of violent extremism and radicalization in the ECOWAS space” is currently holding at the headquarters of the Superior Council of Imams, Mosques and Islamic Affairs, (COSIM) in Bingerville, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire .

The 15 day training is coming after previous successful trainings in Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Mali and has about thirty imams, preachers and teachers from Quranic schools who will be trained in the fight against violent extremism and radicalization in the community space, through the improvement of the educational content of lessons and sermons.

Imams and teachers of Madrasas schools will be intimated on the ECOWAS Reference Manual which is expected to improve their teaching and sermon methods through the use of ICT.

Participants will also identify potential causes of conflict and define a methodology to mitigate them.

The opening ceremony of this training took place on Thursday, September 15, 2022, under the chairmanship of Dr. Konate Arna.

In a speech at the opening ceremony, the Chairman on the occasion, the Vice-Rector of the Muslim University of Africa, Dr Konate, on behalf of the President of the Superior Council of Imams of Mosques and Islamic Affairs (COSIM) of Côte d’Ivoire, Cheikhoul Aima Ousmane Diakite, hailed the initiative of ECOWAS and affirmed that the West African region is facing threats that keep increasing.

He said that its source comes from an obscurantism which tries to cling fraudulently to the Muslim religion and the solution is the involvement and awareness of all peace-loving opinion leaders.

In her welcome address to the participants, the Acting Principal Programme Officer of the Education Division, Ms. Aisha Usman, , speaking on behalf of Commissioner, Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr, in charge of Human Development and Social Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission, said that the training, will instil in imams, the notions of the fight against violent extremism and radicalizing hate speech thereby, defining a roadmap to expand outreach to other imams.

At the end of the training, on September 23, 2022, participants are expected to formulate a series of recommendations to the Muslim community, the Ivorian public authorities and ECOWAS in order to better prevent and combat violent extremism and radicalization in the region and develop next steps for replicating the training to other groups of Imams and Madrasa school teachers.

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