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Regionalism prevents immigrants from identifying with their new country.

Belgium’s Counternarrative Challenge

October 2016, Number 07.04

“With a population of over 11 million, Belgium stands out among other Western European countries as a source of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) in Syria and Iraq. As of July 2016, 457 FTF were believed to be from Belgium. While this represents only about a third of France’s number of FTF, Belgium’s per capita share is more than double. Concerned over these disproportionate figures and the involvement of a number of returning Belgian FTF in foiled and successful terrorist attacks — but also due to pressure from heavy international media attention — the Belgian government has, since 2015, intensified its efforts to understand and prevent radicalization. While many different tools are being explored and developed in this field, we shall look at the development of a Belgian counternarrative.

As explained by Henry Tuck and Tanya Silverman in The Counter-Narrative Handbook, published by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, counternarrative is a catchall term for a large group of activities ranging from campaigns led by grassroots civil-society, youth or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to government strategic communications...”

Excerpt from Lars Scraeyen, “Belgium’s Counternarrative Challenge,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 7, No. 4, 2016: 10-15.

Capt. Lars Scraeyen is a military research fellow on counterterrorism at the Royal Higher Institute for Defence, the Belgian Ministry of Defense’s think tank. He is an expert in interagency and international cooperation in combating terrorism. He graduated from the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the Marshall Center and recently returned as a visiting scholar.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.