In December 2017, the Iraqi government announced the defeat of Islamic State (IS) and referred to the resulting ‘post-IS landscape’ as a new page in the history of Iraq. Although the security situation has improved considerably over the past years, this is not the first time that Iraq celebrates the victory over radical Islamists. A cursory scan of Iraq’s post-2003 invasion history underlines a recurring ‘cycle of violence’ of this fragile state; sectarian wars, systematic human rights violations, terrorist acts and widespread international crimes have continuously been committed by various radicalized groups, including IS. Taking this violent past into account, there is an obvious need to develop feasible and context-specific transitional justice mechanisms combined with counterterrorism strategies with the potential to integrate calls for justice, facilitate long-lasting peace, and limit the risk of future radicalization. Given the deep-rooted sectarian tensions, the culture of tribalism, political exclusion and the disturbed collective identity in Iraq, formulating and implementing such an integrated framework may, however, prove to be very challenging.
In this first seminar of a series on Transitional Justice and Counterterrorism in the Middle East, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, will discuss what challenges Iraq is struggling with in regard of the prosecution of IS-detainees and reconciliation between religious-political groups. He will also elaborate on the possibilities and future perspectives he sees for integrating calls for justice, deradicalization and reconciliation in Iraq. Further, during this interactive seminar Faisal will share his experiences/motivation in founding NGOs to defend human rights and prevent extremism. He is open to answer questions from students and other participants.
Speaker: Faisal Saeed Al Mutar is an Iraqi human rights activist who received the gold President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama. He grew up in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein and later the oppressive rule of Al-Qaeda. He lost his older brother to terrorism and faced kidnappings, extremist hatred, and its consequential violence daily. He fled the United States through Lebanon and Malaysia, becoming a refugee in 2013. A practitioner of counter-extremism on an international scale, he’s spoken at conferences and campuses across the globe about his experiences working to combat extremism, both for the government and as a private citizen. Now a US citizen, Faisal has vowed to help repair his country and the greater Middle East by ushering in a culture of free expression and free inquiry through his non-profit organization, Ideas Beyond Borders.
- Tuesday 9 June 14:00-15:30 hrs
- Login to this seminar via the following Zoom-link: https://vu-live.zoom.us/j/94266734725 (password: 9d69c5)
- You are most welcome to attend this seminar. If you plan to join, please inform Hossein Mojtahedi (m.h.mojtahedi [at] vu.nl)