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Identifier
Created
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09BERLIN1361
2009-10-29 09:39:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Berlin
Cable title:  

EMBASSY PRODUCING COUNTER RADICALIZATION VIDEO

Tags:   PTER  KISL  ASEC  KPAO  KHLS  GM 
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PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHPW RUEHROV
RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRL #1361/01 3020939
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 290939Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5604
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0223
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 0139
RUEHJA/AMCONSUL SURABAYA PRIORITY 0002
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/FOB EUCOM DET MUNICH HOUSE MUNICH GE PRIORITY
RHEFHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/HQ USEUCOM LO WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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RUKAAKA/USAREUR ACE DARMSTADT GE PRIORITY
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BERLIN 001361 

SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO S/CT, R, S/SRMC, PA, EUR/PGI, EUR/CE, EAP/MTS
EUCOM PASS TO AMB. CANAVAN, COL. EASSA
NSC FOR HOVENIER
DHS FOR I&A

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2019
TAGS: PTER KISL ASEC KPAO KHLS GM
SUBJECT: EMBASSY PRODUCING COUNTER RADICALIZATION VIDEO

REF: A. BERLIN 1172

B. BERLIN 862

C. STATE 19846

D. 2008 STATE 72112

Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs Robert A. Pollar
d for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Embassy Berlin is producing a counter
radicalization video that highlights messages from
Germany-based Muslim community leaders who reject extremism
and promote tolerance and understanding among religions.
Mission Germany recently organized ten days of filming by a
U.S.-Indonesian film crew that criss-crossed the country
interviewing over a dozen Germany-based Imams, theologians,
government representatives, Muslim community leaders and
academics. The interview subjects are willing to take public
stands against extremist ideologies and were selected on the
basis of their leadership positions in their communities
and/or expertise in their fields. Once post-production is
completed, Embassy Berlin and the five consulates will
partner with the interview subjects and our Muslim engagement
network of government and civil society representatives to
distribute the DVD for use in Mosques, schools and community
centers. This project, which is supported by a S/CT
Ambassador's Fund for Counterterrorism grant, presents a
reproducible model for Embassy - DoD partnership with civil
society to counter violent extremism. END SUMMARY.




2. (SBU) This cable describes the status of Embassy Berlin's
implementation of the $50,000 grant awarded to the
Economics/Global Affairs section under the S/CT Ambassador's
Fund for Counterterrorism program (reftels C and D). Our
program is developing a network of influential Germany-based
Muslim civil society leaders who are willing to take public
stands against Islamist ideology and to reject violent
extremism. The project is creating partnerships among
mainstream Muslims within Germany as well as links with
like-minded Muslims outside Germany in order to share
experiences and support one another in challenging extremism.
The program is also developing a number of counter
radicalization tools, including books, teaching materials and
a DVD video curriculum that promotes tolerance between
cultures and religions and rejects extremist interpretations
of the Koran.


Project Partners: LibForAll and EUCOM IO


--------------------------






3. (SBU) Embassy Berlin has partnered with the
U.S.-Indonesian LibForAll Foundation (Liberty for All,
www.libforall.org). LibForAll is a nonprofit civil society
organization formed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist
attacks to develop global counter-extremist networks.
LibForAll has worked extensively in Indonesia to mobilize
prominent Muslim leaders in the fields of religion,
education, pop culture, government, business and media to
reject extremism and promote tolerance. LibForAll was
co-founded by American C. Holland Taylor and former

Indonesian President Wahid who is the long-time head of the
Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organization,

BERLIN 00001361 002 OF 005


with nearly 40 million members. LibForAll is headquartered
in North Carolina, and has offices in Indonesia and The
Netherlands. LibForAll's advisors include prominent Muslim
theologians, Imams and government officials in Indonesia, The
Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden. Embassy Berlin's
Ambassador's Fund project mobilizes LibForAll's international
network to engage with German counterparts and jointly create
counter radicalization tools that promote understanding among
religions and challenge extremists' pretense to speak for all
Muslims.




4. (C) Embassy Berlin has also developed a partnership with
United States European Command (EUCOM), based in Stuttgart,
to assist with a variety of technical issues related to the
counter radicalization tools developed by the program. Since
Germany's Muslim community is diverse and multi-ethnic, the
project requires significant amounts of translation across
multiple languages. EUCOM's Information Operations (EUCOM
J39) office is contributing in-kind DoD translation services
so that the publications and video series are available in
German, Turkish, Arabic, and English. We are also working
towards EUCOM providing assistance to insert multiple
language subtitling onto the DVDs. Given the program's
modest budget, EUCOM's translation and technical assistance
contributions are essential.


VIDEO SCRIPT - "RELIGION AND STATE"


--------------------------






5. (SBU) The video program produced in Germany will become
the seventh episode of a larger DVD curriculum series
developed independently by LibForAll. LibForAll filmed the
six earlier episodes mostly in Indonesia, but also Egypt.
The initial six episodes are complete and each episode
focuses on a particular topic. The topics include "Islam and
Faith," "Ummah/Faith Communities," and controversial and
often misunderstood terms such as "Jihad". The six episodes
feature prominent Muslim scholars, community leaders and
Imams providing instruction and tolerant interpretations of
these issues.




6. (SBU) The title for the program filmed in Germany is
"Religion and State." The episode addresses the relationship
between government and religion and puts particular emphasis
on Muslim experiences in Germany, making clear that although
integration has not always proceeded smoothly, the vast
majority of Germany's Muslim population is working within
established frameworks to improve their social circumstances.
In detail, the script has three segments that speakers are
asked to comment on:


Segment 1: In the first segment of the program, religion's
historical role (not simply that of Islam) in society of
providing guidance to improve the character and behavior of
humans is presented. However, throughout history some groups
and leaders have sought to subvert the spiritual function of
religion and exploit it for political purposes. Examples are
presented of nations that have rejected religion altogether
(e.g., some communist/socialist regimes) as well as states

BERLIN 00001361 003 OF 005


where religion and government are inseparable (e.g., Iran,
Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan under the Taliban).


Segment 2: In this segment, speakers stress that Islam
provides no final directives concerning the relationship
between religion and state or any particular theory of
government. They note that Islam does not mandate the
mechanics of states (i.e., form of government and/or
leadership structures), but rather that Islam, like all
religions, strives to elevate social interactions to a higher
moral and spiritual level by improving the character of
humanity.


Segment 3: Modern Germany's constitutional separation of
religion and state is presented positively as a system in
which residents are free to practice the faith of their
choosing. The Muslim program participants speak directly
about the benefits of living in secular Germany and compare
it favorably to life in some Islamic states that offer fewer
personal freedom and professional opportunities. The Muslim
speakers also deliver clear messages rejecting extremism,
intolerant interpretations of Islam, and terrorism.


Developing a Counter Radicalization Network


--------------------------






7. (SBU) The six-person LibForAll film crew interviewed
thirteen individuals during the period September 3 to 13.
Mission Germany staff selected some of the interview subjects
from our Muslim engagement contact lists, arranged the
interviews, and attended many of the interview filming
sessions. Participants were selected based on their
demonstrated record of promoting progressive and inclusive
interpretations of Islam and for their influence within their
communities. Other, non-Muslim participants, were new to the
Mission and were chosen for their expertise. The Open Source
Center also provided lists of potential project partners.
Footage of churches, synagogues, historical landmarks, city
and landscapes across the country were obtained to provide
context. The following individuals were interviewed (the
location of the interview and language spoken are indicated):

Dr. Rauf Ceylan (Duisberg, German), Chairman of the Center
for Intercultural Competence (ZfIK). The ZfIK's work
includes organizing seminars and workshops for governments,
businesses and the media on migration, integration and Islam.

Wael El-Gayar (Dusseldorf, English), North Rhine-Westphalia
Ministry for Generations, Family, Women and Integration.
El-Gayar is an Advisor on Islam in the Ministry's Office for
Strategy, Immigration and Integration.

Haluk Yildiz (Bonn, English), Bonn City Council Member and
founder of new Muslim political party "Alliance for Peace and
Fairness."

Winfried Hassemer (Frankfurt, German), Former Vice President
of the Federal Constitutional Court.

Imam Bajrambejamin Idriz (Penzberg, Arabic), Imam of the

BERLIN 00001361 004 OF 005


Islamic Community of Penzberg mosque.

Ozlem Nas (Hamburg, German), Instructor, Islamic Science and
Education Institute, Representative of Hamburg Integration
Council, and Member of Schura Council of Islamic Associations
in Hamburg.

Ramazan Ucar (Hamburg, Arabic), Imam of Hamburg Central
Mosque, Chair of the Alliance of Islamic Associations in
Northern Germany.

Dr. Schirin Amir-Moazami (Berlin, German), a Professor of
Islamic Studies at the Free University Berlin.

Andreas Nachama (Berlin, German), Rabbi and Director of the
Topography of Terror Foundation (a research center focused on
Nazi crimes), former Chairman of the Board of the Jewish
Association in Berlin and former board member of the Central
Council of Jews in Germany.

Sarmad Hussain (Berlin, English), Secretary General of the
German-Pakistan Forum, German Bundestag Advisor.

Dr. Michael Bongardt (Burg Rothenfels, German), Director of
Institute for Comparative Ethics, Free University Berlin.
Professor Bongardt is a former priest and Catholic theologian.

Dr. Bassam Tibi (Berlin, German), German-Syrian Political
Scientist, Professor at Gottingen University, Cornell
University and Research Fellow at Yale University.
Co-founder of the Arabic Organization for Human Rights and
Cordoba Trilateral dialogue between Judaism, Islam and
Christianity.

Hans Kueng (Tubingen, German), Theologian, Catholic Priest
and Author.


Project Implementation


--------------------------






8. (U) Over twenty hours of interview and location footage
was obtained during the film crew's September visit. We are
now in the post-production phase and LibForAll is editing the
material down to an approximately one hour program and will
add multiple subtitle tracks.




9. (SBU) Following the interviews, most program participants
expressed an interest in assisting in the DVD distribution
and introducing it to local audiences. Ceylan, Idriz, Nas,
and Ucar indicated a willingness to introduce the program
into mosques and Muslim-oriented community associations.
El-Gayar is examining how his ministry could assist in
distributing the program to schools. The Embassy and the
five Consulates General plan to consult program participants
and discuss ways we could partner in distributing the DVD.
Mission Germany is considering hosting screenings and
providing the program to our broader list of Muslim
engagement contacts. We are considering approaching
television broadcasters and media outlets.



BERLIN 00001361 005 OF 005


Creating Partnerships: Embassy - EUCOM - Civil Society


--------------------------



--------------------------






10. (C) Islamic extremists are currently targeting Germany
with Internet messaging at unprecedented levels and
authorities judge the threat of radicalization and home-grown
terrorism as reaching new highs (refs A and B). German
extremists belonging to the Islamic Jihad Union and Al-Qaeda
who are based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region
continue to produce a stream of German-language audio and
video messages seeking to motivate supporters in Germany to
carry out terrorist attacks. Mission Germany's project aims
to empower voices within Germany's Muslim community who have
the credibility and influence to take public stands against
the extremist messaging. We believe that in the hands of the
interview participants and their civil society organizations
the DVD will become an effective counter radicalization tool
that can reach vulnerable populations that the Embassy and
Consulates might not otherwise have access to. Additionally,
obtaining the assistance of authorities responsible for
education and integration will further magnify the reach of
our program.




11. (C) Mission Germany's counter radicalization partnership
with EUCOM and LibForAll seeks to complement each
organization's strengths. Mission Germany manages the
project and selects vetted program participants from across
German society. LibForAll provides access to their network
of Islamic scholarship and influential Muslim figures who are
committed to promoting progressive and tolerant
interpretations of the Koran. EUCOM contributes its
extensive technical expertise and resource capabilities.
EUCOM's experience in managing Internet news sites raises the
prospect of creating an Internet platform for the program
material.
Murphy