Decode the Truth: Ask us a question anonymously and we will share our answers here.

Why ‘decode the truth’?

By using the hashtag #decodethetruth, CONTRA is not aiming at claiming the truth.
The hashtag is in fact an appeal to critically reflect upon information that is being presented to us as “truth” through the media and targeted propaganda. To decode this “truth” means to look at these messages more critically and to question their truth claims by verifying the information they deliver through fact-checking.
“Decoding the truth” does not aim at finding truth, but at deconstructing false claims with the goal of achieving a more realistic understanding of the complex matters that surround us.

What does it mean to be ‘radicalized’?

Radicalization is the process by which individuals are introduced to an ideological message and believe system that encourages them to move away from moderate, mainstream beliefs towards extreme views. Outside influence, may it be through mentors, friends, family members, or movies, print media or online resources, plays therefore a distinctive role in the process of radicalization. Radical views are often incompatible with moderate views and become especially dangerous when paired with a willingness to defend these views through violence.

What is ‘extremism’?

Extremism can be understood as positions, behaviors, activities and opinions that are far removed from the ordinary, or commonly accepted mainstream opinions. It is difficult to have a common definition of “extremisms”, because this would equally  require a common definition of what is “normal”. It is not even uncommon that those that we consider to be extremists might consider others as “extremists” as well.

Still we can distinguish between two kinds of extremism: political and religious extremisms.

Political extremisms is defined as the will to power by a social movement in the service of a political program violating individual liberties in the name of a collective goal (Midlarsky).

Religious extremism stems from extreme religious beliefs and is often based on absolute truth claims, blind obedience, aiming at establishing the “ideal” time, the belief that the end justifies all means and, declaring holy war (Kimball).

What is the difference between a ‘racist’ and a ‘xenophobe’?

The terms “racist” and “xenophobe” often seem to be interchangeable due to the similar contexts in which they are used. Even though both terms refer to discriminatory behavior, their meanings are much more nuanced and refer to two different kinds of aversion:

Racism usually entails distinction based on physical characteristic differences, such as skin color, hair type, facial features. A racist is convinced that these different human traits are determined by “races” which can be put into a hierarchical order according the racist understanding of the “superiority of the white race”.

Xenophobia, on the other hand, translates directly from Greek to “fear of the other”. Xenophobia, hence, implies behaviour based on the idea that the other is foreign to or originates from outside the community or nation. A xenophobe may discriminate against somebody with whom he shares the same physical features, but not the same culture, religion or nationality.

What is terrorism?

Terrorism is violence—or, equally important, the threat of violence—used and directed in pursuit of spreading fear and in service of, a political aim.

Are all terrorists Muslims?

Not even close. Rather, it is about a small group (40k to 100k) among the 1.2 billion Muslims on earth that carries out and promotes terrorism in the name of Islam according to a study performed by RAND. This represents only 0.03% of all Muslims on earth. Check out this fact:  Non-muslims carry out 94% of terrorist attacks in the U.S. by non-muslims (FBI Database)

Are all refugees Islamic terrorists?

Of the Syrian refugees, more than 30% are children under the age of 16. More than 50% are women. So are these refugees terrorists? Almost certainly not. Of the population of 4.5 Million Syrian refugees, an infinitesimal number will have links to Islamic extremism, and even fewer will ever try to commit an attack on European or North American soil. Furthermore, when you look at the culprits of recent terrorist attacks, they were almost always national born Westerners, from France, the U.S., or even Belgium. So let’s stop spreading the idea that these refugees pose a security threat — the best thing we can do for our countries’ well-being is to welcome them with open arms, and to integrate them into our societies