Countering Violent Extremism through Cultural Demystification


On Monday, April 29 at 11:00 am, Nawar Shora will give a lecture titled "Countering Violent Extremism through Cultural Demystification" at START headquarters. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated. If you are not a START affiliate, please email Eva Coll ( if you're interested in attending for more information.

Nawar Shora’s presentation involves a thorough run through an introductory quiz based off of his book, The Arab American Handbook, an easy-to-read, introductory guide to the Arab, Arab-American, and Muslim cultures. The book has received endorsements from FBI, Georgetown University, Helen Thomas, and The Christian Security Network. The course is run as an interactive discussion, and this discussion includes topics such addressing and probing individual perceptions about communities targeted for radicalization to violence, including Arabs and Muslims; explaining differences between Arabs and Muslims both domestically and globally, including population figures, demographics, and appearance; explaining the black flags used by AQ, ISIL and other affiliates; dissecting recruitment tactics and violent images often found on electronic media; exploring naming conventions, nicknames, and transliteration of names; engaging popular culture perceptions and misperceptions and discuss negatives and positives; and discussing radicalization to violence and reference notable examples.

Further topics include providing a background on Islam and its belief system, explaining the five pillars, fasting, and linguistic terms such as “Allah” and “Jihad," and addressing possible points of confusion that may arise out of lack of knowledge, i.e. an individual reading the Quran in a public place or praying in public. Shora also helps explain social and behavioral norms and mores, gives a brief overview of the Arab and Muslim worlds’ geography, and discusses what may and may not be suspicious appearance versus behavior.

Nawar Shora is the Senior Policy Advisor with the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, National Targeting Center’s Counterterrorism Division. Shora is the in-house subject matter expert on violent radicalization, cultural demystification and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). He also reviews and offers guidance on privacy and diversity matters. He is a Syria Expert and has conducted briefs to the IC and law enforcement on Syria: Past, Present, and Possible Future.

Nawar’s efforts have been recognized by the FBI with the Director’s Community Leadership Award (2009), the DHS Outstanding American by Choice Award (2011) and the FBI Exceptional Service in the Public Interest Award (2005), the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Leadership Award (2007), Washington, DC Metro Police Department’s Outstanding and Dedicated Service Plaque (2008) FBI Community Outreach Training Award (2009, 2010), Public Area Security Summit (2017) and many more. In 2018, he served as a witness to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.