Countering Violent Extremism


Back From the Brink: Countering Violent Extremism 

 Watch the trailer here:

Watch the full film here:

The film can also be accessed via Vimeo here.

Back From the Brink: Countering Violent Extremism is a feature-length documentary produced by ICRD in association with Layalina Productions to showcase the efforts of diverse communities around the world in addressing the high toll of violent extremism. The film looks closely at the reasons why marginalized youth join violent organizations, and highlights different approaches for helping them to escape the cycle of violence.


The film provides a rare insider glimpse into the complex worlds of Pakistani militants, Lebanese militias, and Los Angeles gang members.  It spotlights the community and religious leaders, including formerly radicalized youth, who are courageously confronting the blight of violent extremism in their communities.

Back from the Brink first takes us inside the minds of Los Angeles gang members who are seeking to reintegrate into society.

Next, we go to Pakistan, where ICRD has worked with leaders of the country’s religious schools (madrasas) to counter extremism by creating critical thinking skills among the students and inspiring great adherence to the principles of human rights and religious tolerance.


Finally, we travel to Lebanon, where former militiamen and militiawomen recount their shocking experiences as teenagers fighting in the Lebanese Civil War of 1975-1990. Robbed of their childhoods, these former combatants have since found solace in giving back to the country they once helped to destroy by becoming agents for peace and co-existence.

Throughout the film, it becomes clear that understanding and meeting the needs of at-risk youth throughout the world is not only personally transformative, but is perhaps the most effective remedy to violent extremism that communities can offer.

Viewers can skip to chapters at these time stamps:  Los Angeles: 1:24, Pakistan: 20:09, and Lebanon: 42:20.

The film is meant to be watched and discussed in schools, religious groups, communities and educational spaces in order to address and help prevent violent extremism. Please send us your experience and feedback at

In addition, please feel free to use the following videos as supplements to the film. The first is a study guide and the second is a set of questions that can be used in a classroom setting to foster discussion of the film and its broader implications.


Back From the Brink is an International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD) film produced in association with Layalina Productions. The executive producers were Leon Shahabian and Luke Stets. Luke Stets also directed it.

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