Bangkok, 2nd October 2022 – Aizat Shamsuddin, Founder and Director of INITIATE.MY spoke at a “Fireside Chat: Radicalisation & Society” session at the Creators Forward: Regional Summit. Creators Forward is co-led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Union (EU), and TikTok, with support from programme partner Love Frankie. At the session, Aizat shared his radicalisation story and analysis as well as the ways forward to counter hate narratives and spread positive content on social media platforms like TikTok with the regional TikTok creators (from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines).
For example, hate groups capitalise on the us-versus-them narrative to invoke identity superiority and dehumanise others who are often from minority groups based on their belief or gender. Most of the time it is for political agenda and could result in intolerant actions.
In radicalisation study, hate narratives could increase the susceptibility of a person to be radicalised especially those who are sympathetic towards more extreme ideology. Hence, counternarratives are an important aspect in preventing radicalisation from getting more serious. This includes calling out the harms of hate content in multi-ethnic and -religious context, and providing alternative narratives to the public that is more inclusive and critical.
In the Q&A session, the TikTok creators were interested in the factors that led to the life transition from extremism or deradicalisation. Aizat suggested that one of the factors is the awareness about ‘alternative’ narratives that respect human rights and celebrate diversity. This is with an understanding that believing in it does not compromise one’s religious identity.
Creators Forward is also a programme to foster productive relationships between creators, along with CSOs and NGOs, to contribute to UNDP’s mandate of conflict prevention – including building social cohesion, and fostering the environment of tolerance, diversity and creativity.