The German country of North Rhine-Westphalia has launched a satirical YouTube channel within the hope of stopping younger people from becoming radicalized through the video sharing platform.

The project launched by the NRW office for the safety of the charter has components: a satirical YouTube channel and an accompanying actual channel.

The comical "Jihadi fool" channel, released on Thursday (22.

.08.2019) on the Gamescom pc games exchange honest in Cologne, is a comic strip comedy layout that during NRW interior Ministry phrases "mockingly addresses the absurdity of radicalization, terrorism and Islamism," even as the academic channel refers to the satirical videos and counters Salafist propaganda with information. It is going to be released on Tuesday.

The name is a connection with the culture "Jihad Cool," utilized by extremists to rebrand jihadism as a elegant life-style.  

Over the path of a 12 months, 32 satirical films and sixteen authentic films can be launched through the €500,000 ($557,000) assignment.

One satire suggests a proper-wing populist and an Islamic extremist bonding over sexism and homophobia even as looking to convert passersby; another indicates a fictional television show titled "goodbye Syria," in which a former extremist adapts to the mundane struggles of life back in Germany. 
The channel's movies had been watched more than 11,000 times in overall and have obtained combined critiques: a few viewers locate them amusing, whilst others criticize the usage of taxpayer cash. At the time of publishing, the Jihadi idiot channel had 424 subscribers.

Extremists in NRW 'still lively'

NRW's interior Minister Herbert Reul said in a press declaration that the army defeat of the so-referred to as caliphate of the Islamic nation (IS) did now not suggest the three,100 Salafist extremists dwelling in Germany's maximum populous country had "vanished into skinny air."

"they're nonetheless lively and use all channels on which they are able to locate young humans," Reul stated.

He highlighted the importance of the use of the same online platforms to fight the radicalization of younger human beings, including that "wit, humor and information are democracy's most powerful weapons."

"A constitutional protection agency that takes its challenge of prevention severely really can't choose out of being active on such systems," Reul stated. "We should cross in which our target institution is."

Branding crucial

Jawaneh Golesorkh, a researcher at Ufuq — an corporation lively within the discipline of prevention of Islamist radicalization whose Arab call translates as "Horizon" —, stated satirical movies had been a first rate concept, but their success will rely upon how they may be branded.

"We understand that counter-speech, in particular if it is branded as coming from government institutions, isn't as effective as if it have been from influencers," she said.

Golesorkh brought that Ufuq has had success running with famous German comedians within the beyond and underlined projects such as "Say My name," a assignment of the Federal agency for Civic education that targets to prevent extremism among younger women between the a while of 14 and 25 with the aid of using movies from influencers who talk various subjects together with identity and radicalization.

Historian and Islamism expert Christian Osthold informed DW that even as satirical films can contribute to the fight against extremism, for this to be triumphant it's far critical to involve people who have authority in the Islamic network.

The drawback to countering Islamists' messages on YouTube, Osthold advised DW, is that the platform has specially been utilized by Salafist preachers who now realize thoroughly the way to efficiently manipulate younger Muslims.

every other barrier to preventing radicalization is that "Imams who may want to counteract Salafist ideas of their mosques regularly do no longer communicate German thoroughly, that's why media appearances are truly impossible," he brought.

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Extremists exchange processes

Ufuq's Jawaneh Golesorkh notes that the procedures of extremists have shifted in current years. Aside from now additionally the use of Instagram to spread their message, they attention much less on faith and extra on fashionable subjects inclusive of politics, capitalism and feminism.  

"for example, you have got a YouTube account by means of generation Islam and you'll not be capable of understand that that is an Islamist website due to the fact they deal with normal topics like racism."

Golesorkh explained that these channels do publish the occasional religious publish this is explicitly no longer Islamist — and that after the viewer reaches out and contacts the channel, possibly in an instantaneous message, the capability for radicalization is enabled.

The proprietor of the web page or others may then attain out to a few users inside the remarks segment and try to radicalize them.

however, the quantity of likes and perspectives that a video receives is no indication that the human beings watching have become radicalized, she said.

identification at the leading edge

Golesorkh said that Ufuq had also observed that deradicalization initiatives can be successful if the venture does no longer recognition mainly on Islamic radicalization however also subjects like democracy and immigration.

many of the subjects that had to be handled with sensitivity were identity and religion.

"If do you raise it (religion), you want to be careful because you could get into a ping pong — there's continually someone who is aware of it higher or otherwise," Golesorkh stated.

"as opposed to announcing 'i'm able to show you a way to stay,' it's miles higher to do it on an eye fixed-to-eye stage," she added.

Radicalization often comes from a feeling that one isn't always a treasured part of society and does not belong.

"human beings are, peculiarly, social beings who strive for affirmation and popularity of their environment," Christian Osthold informed DW.

He stated that once human beings feel they do not belong, they tend to turn away from society in preference to in the direction of others. That is while they can end up "liable to the have an effect on of Salafist preachers, who say: 'It isn't always you who's the hassle because you're a Muslim, but non-Islamic, godless society.'"

'They nevertheless can't vote'

Golesorkh stated that the quality possible way to combat radicalization is to create room for young people in Germany to sense like they belong to this society.

"some younger humans see that their mother and father and grandparents have lived here for 20 years but still can't vote, for example," Golesorkh stated. "They aren't simplest confronted with exclusion and racism of their own day by day lives.”

She delivered that this became in particular vital in NRW, a nation with a large number of foreign and migrant people.

Wolfgang Beus, a spokesman for the NRW interior Ministry, informed DW that the ministry will check how the mission develops and the amount of site visitors on the channel before figuring out to increase the initiative for every other yr.