The DOC Research Institute dedicated two days to an examination of value conflicts among civilizations and countering ISIS recruitment.
Bassam Tibi gave an exclusive evening lecture looking at how civilizations co-exist and how we can improve mutual understanding, in which he noted: “Where there is conflict, bridging can establish peace. First you need to diagnose conflicts in order to find solutions for peace. By identifying areas of conflict on both sides, solutions can be found.” This also implies greater understanding between Islam and the western world. This issue was further discussed by international experts on the second day.
Khalid Abalhassan from Saudi Arabia said: “The global community faces the same danger and that is terror through ISIS. Their action infrastructure needs to be damaged in order to stop them recruiting young people. Unfortunately, there are some suicidal people who want to kill themselves but label it Islam. We need to stop this being attractive for recruiters and victims.”
Bassam Tibi commented: “A dialogue within Islam is needed urgently. Tolerance needs to be built among Muslims. This thread of global terror is a result of a conflict within Islam.”
Young people are particularly at risk of being ideologically targeted. That is why Heiko Küpper, Advisor for the Berlin State Programme for Prevention of Radicalisation at the Berlin Senate Department for the Interior and Sport, noted: “Young people are passionate about discussing politics but have no room to do that. Our task is to reach out to these youngsters and give them room to discuss their political and ideological concerns. This is one of the action points of the Berlin State de-radicalization programme.”
It is important that psychological motivation behind people joining terror groups is also considered in addition to these ideological motivations, as there are different recruitment mechanisms in operation.
Prisons are a key recruitment location. “Prisons are the universities of ISIS. It is a place where people are especially receptive to brain-washing and are unable to escape”, explains Kadyr Malikov, Director of the Religion, Law, and Politics Analytical Center, Kyrgyzstan.
In Uzbekistan the population has been vulnerable to recruitment on a large-scale, as over 56% is under 20 years old. “Since in Uzbekistan there are massive restrictions on radicalism, there is virtually zero activity now. Through police raids on radical groups we can also succeed in fighting drug dealing and are aware of other areas of criminal activity,” says Rafik Sayfulin, Former Consultant to the President of Uzbekistan on Foreign Policy.
Another major challenge is presented by the need to reintegrate people who are returning from Syria. These people are indoctrinated with ISIS ideology and exclusively focused on the ISIS world and ISIS values. “It is even more important to identify these returnees, to talk to them, to understand who they are and to try to give them a clear perspective on society”, says Alexey Starostin, Deputy Chair of the Theology Department and the Dean of the Russian Language Testing Center for Foreigners at the Ural State Mining University (Yekaterinburg).
These two days saw great emphasis on extent to which terrorism is a common threat impacting the entire global community. The need for a dialogue and interaction in this field is vital, as being able to learn from each other’s experiences is a crucial part of fighting terrorism together.