The crossroads of security and compassion: we’re safer with #MoreAllies

WASHINGTON D.C. — Shamil Idriss, the President of Search for Common Ground, explains how the travel ban affects efforts to counter violent extremism and build peace on the ground. Evidence and experience show that engaging more deeply with populations from which violence emanates – whether it is particular Muslim communities, minority communities in inner cities like Chicago, or rural communities where extreme right-wing “patriot” and hate groups have been growing in number and size – is a more effective strategy for enhancing peace and security than isolating or marginalizing them.

“The travel ban has strained the fabric of American openness, diversity, and freedom against national security. The empirical evidence we have collected through decades of peacebuilding work shows that such a trade-off is unnecessary and self-defeating: threatening our values while leaving us more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks,” said Idriss. “Domestic and international efforts to end violent extremism can be made stronger by deepening – not reducing – our engagement of Muslim populations and advancing a spirit of inclusion. How we mend these tears in our society will determine the preservation and security of our future. It’s time to restore the ties binding us together.”

Search for Common Ground is the world’s largest peacebuilding organization. Our experience in war-torn countries suggests that when people are pushed to the margins, they will act as enemies outside the rules of society. From de-radicalizing prisoners convicted of terrorism in Indonesia, to introducing peacebuilding in the school curriculum in Yemen, we have strong empirical and anecdotal evidence proving that inclusion is the best strategy to decrease violence.

Search’s view is that America needs the 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide to see themselves as allies, not isolated outsiders. Governments and communities around the world trust Search’s resources, tools, and expertise for countering violent extremism. Our strategies de-radicalize violent extremists, disrupt recruiting, and empower constructive Muslim leaders — improving security and reflecting America’s core values of openness and diversity.

Shamil Idriss is available to offer insights on this approach. Shamil was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Deputy Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, a project of the Secretary-General established to improve cross-cultural understanding and cooperation between Western and Muslim-majority societies. Shamil was also the CEO of Soliya, a pioneer in the use of new media for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange and founding member of the Virtual Exchange Coalition. He has served on the Steering Committee of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders, as well as the Board of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders.

To arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Murrey
Senior Communications Manager
+1 (541) 941-6967