Bjørn Ihler

One Young World Profile profiles

Bjørn Magnus Jacobsen Ihler

Studies:
Haccetepe University

I am passionate about

After barely surviving the terrorist attack in Norway in 2011 i have devoted myself to fighting extremism and terrorism in all its forms. My goal has been to make sure as few as possible will have to suffer through the pain I experienced in both loosing friends and dealing with the trauma of having a gun pointed at my head and fired. I've done this through a wide variety of work ranging from research and activism to the production of theatre and films about topics related to extremism, extremist propaganda, hate and dehumanisation. The ultimate goal of my work is to end violent extremism, hate and terrorism globally. An important element in this is rehumanisation, to reverse the process extremist go through in becoming extremists by distancing themselves from others in creating fear-driven narratives of 'us' and 'them', of clashes of civilisations. The process of reversing hate, of building bridges, trust and respect for diversity is difficult, but it is possible. Over the years I've worked with activist, academics and expert, but most importantly I've worked a lot with former extremists, people who better than anyone knows the paths both into, and out of violent extremism. These colleagues and friends have been key in giving me a deeper understanding of extremism, why people become extremists, how we can prevent that, and how we can help those who already is on the path of extremism back into non-violent normality.

Actions

By standing up for liberal, humane values in the face of terrorism I have lead my community by example. I'm pushing back against hate, violence, extremism and terror in order to make my community, my country, my continent and my world a less violent one. I have done this through various means – by standing my ground firmly, challenging those who in the face of terror wanted to change what my country was, by abandoning principles of equality before the law, by standing up for the shared humanity and rights of all, including the terrorist who tried to kill me. My channels for doing this have been varied, ranging from the production of plays and films to taking an active role in the public debate, shaping the discourse in the aftermath of the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway, and subsequent terrorist attacks across the world. Media work, writing, communications and the production of anti-extremist content has been my main tools in achieving this, by changing narratives, by shaping better stories I've been part of making my community more robust, stronger and more resilient when facing violent extremism and terrorism.