Libya Tribune

By Lucy Sherriff

I’m Considered A Potential Terrorist Because I Own A Libyan Passport’, Says Counter-Extremism Activist. A young woman fighting to combat extremism has lashed out against global counter-terrorism policies, saying they criminalise Middle Eastern people.

Hajer Shareif, from Libya, was speaking at the One Young World summit in Ottawa, after being selected by Kofi Annan to form a taskforce to tackle violent extremism.

This is what some of what Hajer had to say:

Just because I am holding a Libyan passport, and I am looking in a certain way, I am considered potential extremist, I am considered potential immigrant, and I am considered potential terrorist. And this is the way I am being dealt with.”

Before 2011, it was a peaceful society, despite the fact we had a dictatorship and all of that. But within the society, we weren’t violent. When the world looked at us now, it is like they tend to think that we are violent by nature. It is like, it is in our blood, in our genes, in our DNA. You know, like there is that activated gene that suddenly we become violent.”

What I do in Libya? I am working with an organization called “Together, We build It”, where, we focus on empowerment women and young women in the peace building process.”

But, there is still a lot that Hajer wants to change.

Even when it comes to the global policies in countering violent terrorism, we clearly see. They make a distinguish, they don’t look at violence, they don’t criminalize the action, more than they criminalize a group of people, a certain group of people, and that is when the policies gos wrong.”

One Young World” is a global movement that hosts an annual Summit to offer a platform for young leaders to network with peers from across the world, sharing ideas to develop solutions to address urgent global issues.


Lucy is multimedia editor at HuffPost UK. She focuses on environment, youth issues and entrepreneurship, with a focus on “what’s working” journalism.


The Huffington Post UK

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