The roots of Islamist extremism in Bangladesh can be traced back to British Colonial rule, during which the social, economic and religious differences between Hindus and Muslims were exploited and exacerbated. In the tumult that followed the partition of India in 1947, new conflicts emerged based on language, culture and economic inequalities, resulting in the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971.
In November 2021, the Strong Cities Network (SCN) organised a study tour to the Netherlands for 25 Jordanian and Lebanese policymakers, judiciaries, practitioners and national stakeholders, in partnership with the US Embassy of the Netherlands and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The tour allowed for exchange of insights and experiences with Dutch national and local professionals as part of the SCN’s preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) programme. This exchange sought to institutionalise and enhance the capacity of the municipal-led Local Prevention Networks (LPNs) in Lebanon and Jordan.
For the town of Majdal Anjar in Leabnon, 1 August will never be the same again. Where normally the country would mark Lebanese Army Day, commemorating the moment when the country formally took control of its armed forces in 1945 following independence, this year it was the day of the chess tournament. Nidal Khaled, Local Prevention Network Coordinator, writes about the transformative potential of sport in preventing violent extremism, which the town of Majdal Anjar witnessed first-hand in August.
The Strong Cities Network held a Young Cities Showcase Expo on November 11th, 2021 in Skopje, North Macedonia. This was the first time the showcase was organised as a fair across the Young Cities programme. The goal of this event was to provide a platform for the youth groups to present their projects and accomplishments to relevant stakeholders and partners.
On 27-28 October, 2021 the Strong Cities Network (SCN) and the University of Ghent hosted a workshop that brought together experts in the field of the prevention and countering of violent extremism and polarisation, including mayors, policy makers, practitioners, and academics from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States.
September marked two important occasions for the Strong Cities Network. On 22 September, mayors and other representatives from some 20 cities around the globe participated in a meeting to revitalise the SCN’s International Steering Committee, which forms its leadership and decision-making body. During the course of the event, participants discussed the various challenges facing cities in preventing and countering violent extremism, as well as ensuring the SCN is fit for purpose.