East Londoner helps in struggle against extremism

Palais des Nations, Geneva. Pic; United Nations Photo (Flickr)

United Nations Offices – Geneva, Switzerland. Pic; United Nations Photo (Flickr)

The Humanitarian Affairs Secretary General to the United Nations (UN) has deemed the current humanitarian crisis the worst one since the end of Second World War. With the rise in extremists all over the world, peacekeeping agencies and leaders have developed ways not only to help people but also propagate message for de-radicalisation.

One young counter extremist is 23-year-old Fatima Zaman from East London. She has worked for influential organisations such as the One Young World (OYW) and the Kofi Annan foundation, which is headed by the former Secretary General of the UN.

Zaman specialised in the Middle East at SOAS, University of London and did her Masters in security studies and counter terrorism.

Zaman told Eastlondonlines: “More than half the world’s population is under the age of 30. These young people tend to be hardest hit by the world’s inequalities and injustices. Their voices often go unheard even though they will inherit the consequences of decisions made today.”

She was one of the young leaders selected to speak at the 2016 OYW summit held in Ottawa from September 28 to October 1.  She has been a regular propagator of developing counter extremism techniques.

Countering violent extremism. Pic; ser_is_snarkish (Flickr).

Non-Violence – A sculpture which expresses Zaman’s words. Pic; ser_is_snarkish (Flickr).

Zaman along with three other women and six men, have been selected by the Kofi Annan Foundation to head their project ‘Extremely Together’.  She is currently an advocate at the foundation.

Her work involves advising key stakeholders on countering-extremism both within and beyond the education sector. She has extensive knowledge and experience of working in the Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) field at the local, regional and national level.

She said: “The Kofi Annan Foundation fosters dialogue and leadership among young people by offering a platform where they can express their ideas and propose solutions to major public issues.”

A spokesperson for the Kofi Annan Foundation told Eastlondonlines; “Ten exceptional leaders with proven track records in preventing and countering violent extremism in their communities were selected from over 500 applications from 72 countries. Under the banner ‘Extremely Together’ they will pool ideas, share experiences and produce a toolkit enabling them, their peers and thousand of young people around the world, to turn the tide in the fight against extremism.”

In a meeting held in Geneva last year, the Extremely Together group vowed “to tell the world a better story, to counter extremist narratives and encourage likeminded efforts globally”.

Zaman also said: “In October 2016 Extremely Together and I launched a social action campaign at One Young World, Canada. Together with Mr. Annan, we discussed the ways in which I am countering violent extremism in my community, and how other young people can get involved and ‘pledge’ to take action in solidarity with youth unity. Since then I have engaged over 1,300 young leaders, a further 3000 youth and empowered them to join the Extremely Together Network.”

The ‘Extremely Together’ project is currently developing mobile phone applications to help the societies that face the risk of extremism, to communicate their issues to the counter extremists in an efficient manner.

CVE has become one of the most important features for security companies around the world.

The group is also launching the new CVE toolkit and handbook later this month in Brussels, Belgium to help individuals.

With regards to the launch, she told Eastlondonlines; “In March 2017 I will also be launching the Extremely Together ‘tool-kit’ at the European Commission, Brussels. The ‘tool-kit’ is a written and digital guide, derived from the work of the 10 leaders’ approaches to CVE.

The guide will be a practical resource for young people to implement CVE work within their own communities. It seeks to offer a positive response to violent extremism that is based on youth leadership.”


With regards to the global community and the importance of unity to tackle the extremists, Zaman told Eastlondonlines; “Extremely Together continues to share their experiences with global communities to support those driven into extremism. Going forward I hope to reach 1.8 Billion young people across the world, and empower them be Extremely Together against violent extremism. The initiative is of the youth, for the youth and by the youth.”

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