The Project ‘Extremismus in Leipzig, Nein Danke’ was funded by Robert Bosch Stiftung in year 2017.
DOZ e.V. Leipzig designed this project to counter right-wing extremism and racism in Germany especially in Leipzig and Saxony state. The youth can be an easy target and therefore, we implemented this project to provide awareness, create safe spaces for youth from both German and migrant background, and promote youth voices and youth civil society engagement. We planned several activities under this project such as workshops, cultural events, and excursions for youth to historical and political areas in Leipzig and the region.
Activities Implemented Under This Project
German Syrian Encounter Festival on 15.07.2017
As part of a campaign for the prevention of extremism and peace building, DOZ e.V. Leipzig ( formerly known as UKSSD e.V.), which does an excellent job through its six civil society centers in Syria, organized an event for art and cultural exchange on 15.07.2017 with the help of the parish of the Ev.-Luth. Dreifaltigkeitskirchengemeinde Leipzig and the “Dresdner59″ in Leipzig. The event included various intercultural programs and is a part of the project ” Extremism in Leipzig? No, thank you!”.
The event started at 16:00 in Dresdner Straße 59 with a delicious oriental dinner of different dishes (Kabsa, Molokhia, Freeke, Bamia, Hummus and different kinds of salads) prepared by a talented cook. The meal was enjoyed very much by the numerous multinational guests and interesting discussions were held, opinions were exchanged and rounds of getting to know each other from different nationalities were made. These activities were a special objective of the event.
Based on these conversations and the different opinions, extremism expert and musician David Häuser gave an excellent lecture on the historical origins and definition of extremism, its manifestations in different cultural contexts, and the prevention of this avoidable but dangerous and radical attitude. In the process, ambiguities were clarified and numerous questions about protection against extremism were answered. The visitors complemented the discussion with contributions from their multinational perspectives.
The last part of the event started at 7:00 pm. Kurdish and Arabic musical pieces were played and sung by DOZ e.V. Leipzig members (UKSSD) members Siyabend and Covan with Saz. At the same time, the guests danced a Kurdish folk dance.
At the end of the event, the members of DOZ e.V. (formerly known as UKSSD e.V.) answered various questions of the interested people about the organization and about its goals, activities and future projects. They explained that DOZ e.V. is a humanitarian and non-profit aid organization working in different countries. The visitors wished for more events of this kind and many were interested in becoming members of DOZ e.V. (formerly knowen UKSSD e.V.) in order to eliminate the dangerous manifestations of violence and hatred and to help in humanitarian activities.
Workshop on Jihadism in Europe – Leipzig on 29.07.2017
On July 29, 2017, the association DOZ e.V. (formerly UKSSD e. V.) invited in the rooms of eurient e.V. in cooperation with the same to a full-day workshop on the burning topical issue of modern jihadism in Europe. Around 10 o’clock in the morning, people from different backgrounds met in Leipzig’s Südvorstadt to work together on the announced topic. The group was, young and older, women and men, with religious and atheistic worldviews, with refugee experiences and without. The event was part of the project “Extremism in Leipzig? No, thank you!”, which is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation and conceived by young people and realized with the support of the German-Syrian association DOZ e.V..
The event kicked off with a round of welcoming remarks that focused on the motivations and expectations of the participants*. Then the Syrian journalist Tarek Aziza began to moderate a mind map, in which, in addition to personal associations, central concepts were collected, and initial backgrounds revealed. It quickly became clear that the aspects associated with the workshop could not be captured in regional categories or one-sided schemes. Historical roots of the phenomenon were discussed as well as religious, social, psychological, and cultural aspects. Many an association was a city or a conflict, many an attitude or a concept.
What fears does jihadist propaganda address, what images of humanity do the associated ideologies represent, and where and how are they promoted? With these questions – and others – in mind, participants* proceeded to watch the medium-length documentary “The Path of the Jihad in Europe.” Afterwards, impressions were shared in an open, moderated dialogue and a discussion began with Syrian filmmaker Sherwan Qasim, who was present.
After a lunch break, work continued in two smaller groups in order to enable other constellations of speakers and to be able to work more intensively on selected problems. The results were ultimately incorporated into the final discussion, which once again addressed the mechanisms and tactics of radical Salafist and jihadist ideology, but also problems of mutual understanding and cultural exchange. Bans, taboos, prejudices, and repressive mechanisms in social structures were discussed as well as EU, federal and local political issues.
In personal conversations during the breaks and after the workshop was over, questions touched upon could be further explored. The eight-hour workshop was held in German and Arabic with consecutive translation and received much positive feedback from the 14 participants.
More about this Event:
Documentary film screening followed by a discussion on extremism and jihadism in Europe.
The terrorist attacks that Islamist extremists commit again and again in Europe have become one of the topics that both the media and the public in Europe are always concerned about. Although some people associate these attacks with people (with a migration background) from the “Arab and Islamic world,” they are no longer committed only by them. Many of the best-known extremists and terrorists are Europeans who have recently converted to Islam. They play a role that should not be underestimated, not only in Europe, but also in countries such as Iraq and Syria through collaboration with jihadist groups, among others.
It is a vast and complex subject and in order to explore it, historical, political, cultural and social aspects need to be taken into account. Serious debate is needed to understand this phenomenon, and understanding is the first step in addressing the problem. In order to contribute to this debate, we invite you to a workshop that we have designed, consisting of the film “The Path of Jihad in Europe” and a subsequent open discussion between two experts present and the participants.
The Documentary Film – The Path of Jihad in Europe
We will present the film “The Path of Jihad in Europe” (Germany, 2017, 48 min.) by director Shirwan Qasim. The film shows the history of Islamist groups from the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 to the emergence of IS. It also addresses the question of why so many Europeans convert to Islam, undergo a process of radicalization, and later join terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. The film tries to show some of the reasons for this phenomenon. The director of the film will be present.
After the film, we would like to raise and discuss the following issues and questions in an open discussion session:
– The origins of political Islam and its role in the emergence of jihadist movements.
– Is there a link between the drastic increase in jihadist activity and the conflicts that erupted in some Arab states after the “Arab Spring”?
– How have these movements been able to spread in Europe?
– How do these movements influence the social climate in European countries? Is the rise of far-right parties one of the consequences of jihadist activities in Europe?
– What are the best ways to contain this phenomenon and its spread?
We would like to point out that this workshop is intended to be the start of a series of events. The discussions and contributions will also feed into our further research on the topic.
Information About the Experts:
Shirwan Qasim has been working as a cameraman since 2004 and as a documentary director since 2009. He has reported from many war zones in the Middle East and has worked for various international and regional broadcasters such as NBC News, BBC Arabic, Rudaw TV, Ruptly, Voa and RT.
Tarek Aziza is an author and researcher from Syria. In 2006, he graduated from Damascus University in Law and since 2008 he has been publishing at various research institutions, newspapers, magazines and online platforms. Until he came to Germany in late 2014, he worked as a lecturer in contemporary history at the “Institut français du Proche-Orient” in Beirut. His previous publications include: “Secularism” (2014), “The Al-Nusra Front: Al-Qaeda’s Offshoot in Syria” (2013), and “The Strategy of the Authoritarian Regime in the Fight against the Syrian Revolution” (2014, collaboration).
Intercultural Educational Trip to Erfurt on 16.09.2017
Target group: Young adults (17-23)
Date: September 16, 2017
Within the framework of the project, under the motto “Remembering for the Future”, history and dialogue with one’s own and other people’s memories are to be made experiential and comprehensible, in order to learn to orient and reflect better and to develop self-confidence and trust in others.
– Trip to Erfurt
– “I introduce you”
– “Important to me” (Please bring a photo of someone/something important to you)
– “Remembering for the future” – visit to the Old Synagogue Erfurt
– City rally
– Voice and body
– Dialogue Workshop
Peace One Day Action in Leipzig on 21.09.2017
Doz organized and took part in public events in the city of Leipzig for the International Day of Peace. Doz team in Leipzig prepared many messages for peace with flowers in this day and distributed those messages to people in the streets in Leipzig to promote social cohesion and counter extremism and racism in the city.
City Action and Flyers Distribution in Augustus Square in Leipzig on 22.09.2017
DOZ Leipzig team sat up a tent in the Augustus square in the city center of Leipzig for a civil society action and awareness action on extremism and how to counter it in our communities. For this action we showed posters in the square and distributed flyers to people and did small talks and answered questions by some people about the topic extremism.
Theater Workshop 15.10.2017
The DOZ team member Andrea Rutzen with some of Leipzig theater people performed a theater piece in Leipzig under the topic let us learn and counter racism and extremism in our circles. The workshop was about identity, home, and refuge. The workshop was organized by Andrea Rutzen, Shirwan Qasim, and Torben Ibs.
Kurdish Film Days Leipzig 2017 Event
Though the project Extremisms in Leipzig, Nein Danke, the youth group under this project support the event Kurdish Film Days Leipzig 2017 and highlighted some important topics about extremism and jihadism and risks on youth through movies and cinema.