How Moroccan activists are countering online recruitment into violent extremism

More than 1,600 young Moroccans have joined violent extremist groups and left the country for conflict zones in the Middle East. For most of them, radicalization begun with social media, commonly used by violent extremist recruiters to disseminate their ideologies and narratives.

Civil society and youth groups have made many efforts to challenge violent extremist narratives. The most effective of them have leveraged the same online tools used by violent extremism recruiters.

In order to increase the resilience of Moroccan youth to violent extremism, our local team brought together more than 30 leaders, including government officials, religious scholars, civil society activists, educators, and social and traditional media experts.

Together, they developed three Facebook campaigns.

#Except_me
This online campaign attempted to counter the narratives of violent groups through 2D animation videos and a short documentary featuring a former Moroccan violent extremist.

#I_want_to_live
This campaign sought to make Moroccan families aware of their significant role in building resiliency to violent extremism and taught parents how to recognize radicalization in their children.

#Our picture_our_unity
This campaign featured a photography, caricature, and painting competition, shedding light on the importance of unity, tolerance, coexistence, and peace within Moroccan society. The best three pictures from each category passed a two-stage selection process that included evaluation by a committee and a public vote through our Morocco team’s Facebook page.