Naseeha: An intervention hotline and a Parallel Networks project

The Prophet Mohammed is reported to have said: The Religion is Sincere Advice and Counselling (naseeha)

What is proposed?

In direct affiliation with Parallel Networks, Naseeha is an experimental, community-based intervention mechanism for cases of radicalization into violent extremism amongst American Muslims. Naseeha will provide information, referral services and intervention access by way of phone, e-mail, text, or an array of social media platforms. The initial 18-month phase will generate data and help determine the value/need for such a program in the U.S. ambit. It concentrates on Muslims simply because the interventionist holds expertise in that area, and other organizations are conducting similar initiatives with regards to alternative extremisms. Naseeha.org will work in consultancy and cooperation with those agencies. Referral services will include not only primary, radicalizing individuals, but also family, friends, colleagues, social workers, counselors, probation officers and the like. Interventions are to be funded by private, public and philanthropic contributions.

Why?

Intervention alternative to law enforcement investigation and/or interdiction has proven a controversial and tenacious topic in the United States. Despite experimentation documenting success in other countries, such programs are only now launching in the U.S. The roadblocks are primarily two: 1. Limited funding for CVE, and 2. Potential legal ramifications. Most agree that such a mechanism must be community-based, as opposed to government funded. However, independent programs run the risk of prosecution. In the event of a negative outcome, interventionists could be held liable. To mitigate this risk, the program will follow Federal mandated reporter guidelines and HIPAA laws. Additionally, the interventionist a former recruiter and radicalizer seeking amends, will assume risk in good faith. Developing a midway between silence and contacting law enforcement has too many potential benefits for all parties not to pursue. The initial experiment will cover 18 months, time at which outcomes will be reviewed. If assessed as useful and beneficial, the program will then develop and continue.

Interventions

Interventions will be conducted by Jesse Morton. As Younus Abdullah Mohammed, Mr. Morton was a prominent radical propagandizing on behalf of Al-Qaeda from 2005 to 2011. He worked alongside the most influential jihad preachers in recent years, and is widely read in Islamic history, theology, jurisprudence and religion in general. He hold and undergraduate degree in Human Services and a Master in International Relations, with a concentration in the Middle East and non-profit management. Additionally, Mr. Morton is a certified substance abuse/mental health counselor, and worked in this field for many years in New York City. After working briefly in the field of academia, he shifted from CVE research to interventionism, and helped found Parallel Networks.

How it works

  1. Family, friends, individuals, social service workers, religious leaders, criminal justice agencies… contact the hotline through the numerous contact routes.
  2. An intake coordinator takes up all the information. The call is anonymous (unless authorized). Format will develop, but essential supporting details (bio-psychosocial data, ideas and behaviors, online activity, etc.) will be built into a report for an oversight board.
  3. Intake coordination forwards that report and participates in conference, determining the eligibility based on three criteria: appropriateness, risk assessment and resource availability.
  4. If not eligible, intake coordination woks with caller in an attempt to find an alternative course.
  5. If eligible, the case is referred to the interventionist. He will follow up with the ‘caller’, gather additional details, formulate an action plan, forward it back to the oversight board for review insight and will finalize.
  6. The intervention initiates and every 45 days, case notes, intervention plan and results are reviewed by oversight board.
  7. Cycle continues until intervention is deemed as yielding for significant additional gain.
  8. Follow-up with the individual occurs – weekly for one month, once a month for the next 3 months, and quarterly for the rest of one year.