The aim is to use digital platforms to help Europeans integrate Muslims, by producing a “counter narrative, preventative outreach, and capacity building”. A document outlining the grant defines “counter narrative” as alternatives to extremism an violence: “Dispel the narratives of extremist groups that incite violence and provide alternative narratives. Provide positive narratives concerning refugees and immigrant populations.”
The objectives include reaching out to “at-risk youth and communities” and providing alternatives to “ordinary citizens susceptible to recruitment into violent extremism”.
Even though the grant is issued by the US embassy in Belgium, applications from anywhere within Europe are welcome. President Trump, incidentally has not yet appointed a new ambassador to serve in Belgium.
Europeans are worried about the prospect of terrorists from the Middle East returning to Europe. “Our office seeks to promote positive narratives and tolerant perspectives as well as directly dispel violent extremist messaging; reduce violent extremism through education, critical thinking, and structured dialogue; and enhance and amplify community-based resiliency efforts focused on women and youth,” a document noted about the proposal.
The grant is linked to the US “Peer 2 Peer” program, which aims to use the work of university students. “The idea is to produce larger scale communication content and innovative solutions to challenge extremism that can be used and shared broadly.”
Grant-winners should seek to promote “positive narratives” about refugees and immigrants through “TV, radio, online, and social-media campaigns” and the embassy aims for the program to be “be sustainable beyond the life of the grant”.