Definition of Terms

Based on the inter-governmental coordination through conceptual papers, studies, meetings and consultations, the ministries of the Government of Lebanon have agreed to the following basic definitions of Violent Extremism and Prevention.

A. Definition of "Violent Extremism"

The definition of "violent extremism" varies according to the approach adopted. Therefore, the Strategy adopted a definition of "violent extremism" that includes the following three points:

• The spread of individual and collective hatred that may lead to extremist violence.

• The rejection of diversity and nonacceptance of others, and the use of violence as a means of expression and influence.

• A behavior that threatens values that ensure social stability.

B. Definition of "Prevention"

Prevention entails the development of policies that can be transformed into a societal culture that will enhance the community’s abilities to protect itself against violent extremism.

Communities are subject to permanent social, economic, cultural and developmental transformations. The culture of prevention should become a sustainable behavior that materializes through:

  • Raising awareness about the risks of violent extremism and by monitoring and anticipating social, cultural, developmental and behavioral transformations at the individual and community levels that may lead to violent extremism.
  • Developing a list of social, economic, environmental, cultural, security and other risks and developing targeted responses through the establishment of specialized social observatories.
  • Lexicon

    It is important to differentiate between key intersecting concepts which could impact the understanding and intervention of policymakers and researchers. The NAP recognizes that although fundamentalism, radicalization and extremism are interconnected phenomena, using these terms interchangeably is an analytical error.

    As illustrated in the figure below, this NAP defines the concepts as follow:

    Fundamentalism is belief in the strict and literal interpretation of texts, teachings, or content of a given ideology. Radicalization encompasses the features of fundamentalism but distinguished by the deep intention to transform and influence society towards the adoption of the ideology or mental image of the world Extremism is the rejection of diversity, the non-acceptance of the other. Extremism becomes violent when extremists resort to the utilization of violence as a means to influence society and transform it.

    Lebanese Context

    Due to the geographical and strategic location of Lebanon, its presence in a regional environment where violent extremism is proliferating, there is a need to maintain security and social peace and safeguard Lebanon’s social diversity. The prevention of violent extremism in Lebanon, as an effort to address this need, is particularly important now.

    The PVE activity has been constantly ongoing since the launch of the Strategy Development Process in 2016. Although Lebanon has gone through hard times and has undergone vacancies in executive posts such as the Presidency and Government, the PVE Unit has been able to operate and engage with all-of-government and all-of-society, as well as establish its lead partnerships, ever since its establishment.

    However, the situation has changed ever since the Lebanese PVE agenda was launched. An unprecedented socioeconomic and political crisis, a pandemic that devastated lives and exhausted the health system, and the port explosion in Beirut, in addition to the 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the 23 months of government vacancies, national uprising and political instability and fragility, all have been challenges forming a multi-faceted crisis. On the other hand, with the recent developments in the Syrian crisis, there is a pertinent risk of return of radicalized individuals to Lebanon.

    Moreover, COVID-19 has caused different consequences active and also responded to the pandemic. This reality created new risks and challenges for the effort to prevent violent extremism. Hence, PVE is a priority now more than ever.