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August 31, 2018 9:26 am

Middle East Forum Launches New Project to Combat Local-Based Impact of Radical Islam

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Islamic Jihad militants guard outside the funeral of Islamic Jihad militant Hussein al-Amour, who was killed during an Israeli airstrike in southern Gaza on May 27, 2018. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90. – The Middle East Forum announced a new project geared to combat the local impact of radical Islam. The Counter-Islamism Grid (CIG) will be launched as a separate entity next month, according to spokesperson Gregg Roman.

The initiative is being led by Kyle Shideler, whose expertise includes Islamist groups in the United States. He has worked at the Center for Security Policy, the Endowment for Middle East Truth and StandWithUs.

“The base of the CIG concept is the notion that ‘all politics are local.’ It’s one thing to talk about the negative impact Islamist groups have on foreign policy or counterterrorism policy,” Shideler told JNS. “But for the average American, what really hits home is what happens at the local level: at the county council meetings, on the school boards, and in their neighborhood churches, synagogues and mosques.”

“We’ll be building local community coalitions, which include moderate Muslims, who see Islamism for the anti-American, anti-democratic ideology that it is, and in doing so we’ll be working to roll back neighborhood-based Islamist influence in communities across the country,” added Shideler.

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The Middle East Forum, founded by Daniel Pipes in 1994, has projects that focus on combating Islamism on the national and international scale, including “Islamist Watch,” “Jihad Intel,” “The Legal Project” and “The Washington Project.”

“While Islamist Watch tracks all manner of Islamist activities that affect the national-level policy conversation, CIG is more focused on local areas and the impact of Islamists on these communities,” Roman told JNS. “We’ll also be seeking to make our writing more accessible to audiences through local media rather than national media.”

“While Jihad Intel is about educating on the symbols and activities of violent jihadists,” he explained, “CIG is focused on the activities of Islamists that are advancing an anti-American agenda, but remain primarily within the boundaries of the law.”

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