Role of Lawyers for Women in Preventing Violent Extremism
Updated: Apr 14
Fundamentalism means upholding belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture, while extremism means trying to spread or impose those beliefs on others and usually use force (violence) to achieve that end. Therefore, every extremist is a fundamentalist, but not necessarily every fundamentalist is an extremist.
At Lawyers for Women Center, we respect fundamentalism as a personal choice, but we reject extremism. We work to combat extremism, but we focus our efforts on preventing extremism because we believe that prevention is better than cure.
We understand the causes of violent extremism in Iraq and we continuously work to address them, in cooperation with different local and international institutions. In this context, we review here the most important current activities of our center in the field of preventing violent extremism.
Our center works in cooperation with Mercy Hands for Humanitarian Aid to provide legal aid to women and children of families who were misled by - or perceived to be affiliated to - ISIS in the governorates of Salah al-Din, Anbar and Nineveh. These families live in Iraq, but they are ostracized by the local communities and live in extreme poverty because majority of them have lost their breadwinners and they are not covered by the state's social welfare system, and their children do not go to school because they do not have the necessary legal papers. This odd situation may lead to their children to grow up to be haters of society and violent extremists. For this reason, Mercy Hands works with the United Nations Development Program to reintegrate these families with the host communities by rehabilitating them socially, psychologically and legally.
Moreover, the Director of the Center, Lawyer Amani Mohamad, is also participating in a training workshop organized by Hedaya Center and GIZ titled "Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): An Introductory Guide to Concepts, Programming, and best practices". This training workshop is held in Baghdad for five days, from the 27 to 31 of March, 2022.
And in order to enhance the role of the Center in the field of combating violent extremism, the Director of the Center met with Mr. Ali Abdullah Al-Bedeiri, Chairman of the National Committee on the implementation of the National Strategy to Prevent Violent Extremism. It was agreed to join forces and create partnership to combat violent extremism. In this context, Mr. Al-Bedeiri invited the Center to attend the meetings of the sub-committees in all governorates and to help with building the capacity of these sub-comittees.