Conference discusses community involvement in countering violent extremism

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 14, 2016 11:25

Conference discusses community involvement in countering violent extremism

TIRANA, Oct. 12 - Stakeholders have discussed measures to counteract the lure of violent extremism on a few vulnerable Albanian youths at an event held Wednesday in Elbasan.

"Endangered groups, in particular youth, need exposure to alternative peer groups, they need room for other reflections and for voicing discontent. They may also be in need for a different religious or spiritual guidance," said the head of the OSCE Presence, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt at the United in Countering Violent Extremism Conference.

The event was jointly organised with the Elbasan Muslim Community and the Elbasan Mayor's Office, bringing together stakeholders from not just a cross-section of Elbasan society, but also from different agencies, civil society and religious communities.

Borchardt said violent extremism has no justification, and it should not be associated with any race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. It fuels division, marginalization, prejudice, discrimination and other human rights violations.

"Albania and indeed Elbasan have a proud tradition of religious tolerance. This is a trademark of Albania the country is proud of. Nevertheless we have seen radical dogmatic influences reaching even Albania, influencing people against their own traditions," Borchardt said. "I understand that sometimes young people are in need for spirituality, religion or other orientations. But they should not end up on the internet with websites offered by radicals or with seducing alleged new radical prophets of an old faith."

Families, women, religious, cultural and educational leaders can play a crucial preventive role by fostering mutual respect and understanding, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence among cultures, he added.

"They will need information and training to be able to identify the early signs of dangerous radicalization of their sons, daughters, community members or others," Borchardt said. "Large parts of Europe are dealing with this problem. We all can learn from the experiences made in other OSCE participating states without 'reinventing the wheel.'"

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 14, 2016 11:25