Khalid Koser on... Resilience Against Violent Extremism
17 Mar 2015
Khalid Koser speaks about the challenges of developing mechanisms to help communities build resilience against violent extremism, and explores some of the key drivers for radicalisation.
I think the most important challenge is to get money to these communities. I think there are many communities in the world, in many countries, including perhaps this country [Kosovo], that understand what violent extremism is, and how it's emerging, but don't have the mechanisms to respond. So the point of our fund (the Global Communitiy Engagament and Resilience Fund) is to try to provide funds to these communities so they can start to find solutions.
There's a big debate about this. For some people and in some places clearly poverty is an important driver for radicalisation, poor people are particularly susceptible to radical voices. But equally in some places more wealthy and middle class people, some university students, equally become radicalised as well. But we think that some combination of poverty, of marginalisation, of disenfranchisement are probably the key drivers of this. But again we think that communities know better than us what causes these issues and we need to speak to and understand communities themselves.
There are several relationships between displacement and religion. One is that in many parts of the world religious communities are being persecuted and are forcibly displaced. A large number of refugees in the world today are from religious minorities, and they fled because of religious persecution. Equally there are concerns that where people are in refugee camps, particularly for a long period of time, they may become susceptible to radicalisation. We have some Syrian refugee camps, some Afghan refugee camps, where young people have become radicalised because they spent so long in refugee camps.
But the third part of this is that religion can be the solution as well. We certainly have examples of where religious leaders can help refugees find solutions, can help refugees repatriate once they go home. So thinking about religion positively as well as negatively, I think is very important.
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