Regional Symposiums Youth & Imams Together Against Radicalization and Terrorism

The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy organized jointly with Nisaa Assilat Association and The Memory of Medina Association a regional symposium entitled: « Youth and Imams together against terrorism » In Dar Rjeb Space Kairouan Sunday 15 May 2016 and in Kasserin Youth center Thursday 02 June 2016.

 

Both Events were introduced by Mr. Massaoudi ABIDI with a briefing about the center and the activities carried out within the framework of supporting democracy and consolidating the culture of peace and debate.
Mr. Salem BRAHEM accredited CSID trainer and moderator introduced the program and an overview of the previous meetings and events held within the same vein. He also distributed those meetings reports for the participants to provide them with the progress made and the goals of the symposiums.
The first session was brainstorming and open debate about the definition of terrorism and radicalization, the terrorist and the elements leading to violent attitude. The second session was made of working groups to draft suggestions for field activities that aim to address the phenomenon of terrorism and radicalization.
The debate was diverse and fruitful through which the participant expressed their appreciation of the choice of participants between youth and Imams. The identified Radicalization and terrorism in various ways: Some believes that radicalization is the exaggeration in religion that emerges from other doctrines and affects ones believes. This variety of thoughts and beliefs is possible however it could be harmful and from this perspective Tunisians should have a common vision and moderate understanding. Terrorism was identified as the act of imposing of ideas and agendas without taking into consideration the specify and set of values upon which the community agreed. The participants convened on Tunisia as peaceful country that rejects any kind of radicalization or extremism with reference to the Tunisian history. The participants identified the terrorist and his motivations as individuals suffering from inferiority complexes and psychological problems that finds a fertile ground to manifest consequently as violent actions.
Some participants convened also on the way of promoting and presenting the terrorist on the image of a strong Arabic and Muslim individual with the attractive physical aspects that made it a super model for young teenagers across the globe. The other group of young participants considered the terrorist as a clumsy and irresponsible individual that is manipulated as a tool to implement foreign political agendas that aspire to distract the Muslim civilization form within.
Concerning the causes of radicalization and terrorism, the participants listed several factors such as ignorance of the religious texts and meanings, illiteracy and lack of engagement to culture and public life as the recruitment of young people by the terrorist group starts from these factors. They target poor and illiterate individual and the desperate youth because of the socio-economic circumstances.
They also considered that terrorism starts from the claim of acquiring the truth, the power of knowledge and the ability to impose that « truth » in order to weaken the state authority and to implement their destructive agendas which is the case in Tunisia as all terrorists were claiming owning the true understanding of religion and under the banner of Islam with their beards they attacked innocents. The Imams participating in the working groups stated that the religious education and sermons delivered in mosques is outdated and does not meet with the daily requirements as it creates a gap between the individuals and Imams and lead consequently to the intrusion of extremists to broadcast their ideology from those gaps, attract young people and use them as shield.
The second session was carried out through working groups in order to prepare a set of recommendations and ideas of field activities that help to reduce terrorism and extremism.
During the presentation of groups output the debate was productive between the participants as they expressed a motivation to implement these suggestions that encompassed raising awareness campaigns, cultural tour, plays workshops movies and music shows and visits to youth centers and prisons. Etc. with hopes of funding some of these activities.

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