Global Impact of Saudi Textbooks

In 2012, ICRD conducted an assessment of the extent to which Saudi Arabian textbooks and educational materials have been disseminated to various countries around the world, the findings of which were presented to U.S. and Saudi stakeholders with the hope of informing cooperation on education reform. Through this assessment, ICRD sought to determine not only where these materials were being sent, but also how they have affected the surrounding communities. Building on this initial study, ICRD is currently conducting an in-depth analysis of three focus countries – Spain, Indonesia, and Tunisia – that are each emblematic of the way in which Saudi education materials have been distributed in various regions of the world. This study will inform ICRD’s ongoing diplomatic engagement with U.S. and Saudi officials.

Integrating Conservative Religious Actors into CVE

In light of the growing threat of violent religious extremism in the Middle East and North Africa region, ICRD has been exploring innovative strategies to counter the appeal of Jihadi-Salafi groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Specifically, ICRD aims to critically examine the constructive role that might be played by conservative religious actors – who often possess unique influence with and access to those at-risk of radicalization. Drawing on field research with Salafi and other conservative religious actors (imams, religious students, and educators), ICRD has been developing recommendations for national and international policymakers and practitioners on how to more effectively integrate a range of religious actors and institutions into future initiatives.

In Tunisia, ICRD partnered with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) to gather the perspectives of 139 fundamentalist religious actors and nearly 50 government and civil society experts from Tunis (Ettadhamen and Djebel Lahmar), Sousse, Bizerte, Kasserine, and Ben Gardane. The findings of this research are summarized in the ICRD report Reimagining the Religious Sector, which explores the challenge of strengthening religious alternatives to Jihadi-Salafism.