Showing posts tagged as "Radicalisation"

Showing posts tagged Radicalisation

26 Sep
"One year after the Westgate Mall terrorist attack in Nairobi, Al-Shabaab is more entrenched and a graver threat to Kenya. But the deeper danger is less in the long established terrorist cells that perpetrated the act – horrific as it was – and more in managing and healing the rising communal tensions and historic divides that Al-Shabaab violence has deliberately agitated, most recently in Lamu county."

—From Crisis Group’s latest Africa Briefing Kenya: Al-Shabaab - Closer to Home

25 Sep
Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home
Nairobi/Brussels  |   25 Sep 2014
One year after the Westgate attack, Al-Shabaab has become more entrenched and active in Kenya. Meanwhile, the country’s immediate post-Westgate unity has broken down in the face of increasing attacks, and the political elites, security services, and ethnic and faith communities are beset by mutual suspicion and recriminations.
In its latest briefing, Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home, the International Crisis Group highlights Al-Shabaab’s growing presence and increasingly frequent attacks and the muddled response of Kenya’s government, security services and political elite. Anti-terrorism operations perceived to target entire communities have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation and persecution, particularly of the Muslim minority, and are feeding directly into Al-Shabaab’s messaging and recruitment.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
The wider danger of Al-Shabaab’s tactics in Kenya lies in its ability to use existing religious and ethnic fault lines to deepen the country’s political and social divides.
Kenyan political elites need to acknowledge the domestic terror threat and form a common action-plan together with the country’s senior Muslim leadership to counter extremist recruitment.
The government should put into practice the recommendations of the 2008 Special Action (“Sharawe”) Committee set up to address the concerns of the Muslim minority: these include measures to end institutional discrimination against Muslims and their more proportional representation in senior public service appointments.
The government and its security services need to identify and isolate the specific Al-Shabaab threat and not conflate the actions of extremists with specific communities – especially in the north east and the coast – whose past and present grievances make them suspect in the eyes of the state. It must reappraise its anti-terrorism practices and operations, which are perceived as collective punishment of Muslims and particular ethnic groups. It should also allow for transparent investiga-tions and redress where operations have exceeded the law or breached constitutional rights.
“Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims have been historically marginalised, especially in the north east and along the coast”, says Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director. “If the government wants to cut grassroots support for Al-Shabaab, it has to address the widespread institutional and socio-economic discrimination felt by Kenyan Muslims”.
“The blame for growing radicalisation in Kenya lies less in the weaknesses of the country’s institutions than in the unwillingness of political leaders to put aside partisan divisions”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Deputy Africa Program Director. “Their playing politics with terrorism compounds an already volatile situation”.
FULL BRIEFING

Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home

Nairobi/Brussels  |   25 Sep 2014

One year after the Westgate attack, Al-Shabaab has become more entrenched and active in Kenya. Meanwhile, the country’s immediate post-Westgate unity has broken down in the face of increasing attacks, and the political elites, security services, and ethnic and faith communities are beset by mutual suspicion and recriminations.

In its latest briefing, Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home, the International Crisis Group highlights Al-Shabaab’s growing presence and increasingly frequent attacks and the muddled response of Kenya’s government, security services and political elite. Anti-terrorism operations perceived to target entire communities have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation and persecution, particularly of the Muslim minority, and are feeding directly into Al-Shabaab’s messaging and recruitment.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The wider danger of Al-Shabaab’s tactics in Kenya lies in its ability to use existing religious and ethnic fault lines to deepen the country’s political and social divides.
  • Kenyan political elites need to acknowledge the domestic terror threat and form a common action-plan together with the country’s senior Muslim leadership to counter extremist recruitment.
  • The government should put into practice the recommendations of the 2008 Special Action (“Sharawe”) Committee set up to address the concerns of the Muslim minority: these include measures to end institutional discrimination against Muslims and their more proportional representation in senior public service appointments.
  • The government and its security services need to identify and isolate the specific Al-Shabaab threat and not conflate the actions of extremists with specific communities – especially in the north east and the coast – whose past and present grievances make them suspect in the eyes of the state. It must reappraise its anti-terrorism practices and operations, which are perceived as collective punishment of Muslims and particular ethnic groups. It should also allow for transparent investiga-tions and redress where operations have exceeded the law or breached constitutional rights.

“Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims have been historically marginalised, especially in the north east and along the coast”, says Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director. “If the government wants to cut grassroots support for Al-Shabaab, it has to address the widespread institutional and socio-economic discrimination felt by Kenyan Muslims”.

“The blame for growing radicalisation in Kenya lies less in the weaknesses of the country’s institutions than in the unwillingness of political leaders to put aside partisan divisions”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Deputy Africa Program Director. “Their playing politics with terrorism compounds an already volatile situation”.

FULL BRIEFING

(Source: )

23 Jun
Education Reform in Pakistan
Islamabad/Brussels  |   23 Jun 2014
To combat religious extremism and sectarian violence, Pakistan must reform its education sector by boosting resources to public schools and updating the school curriculum to improve quality and remove divisive and discriminatory narratives.
Long underfunded, Pakistan’s system of public education has been further devastated by militant violence and natural disasters. Passed in 2010, the eighteenth constitutional amendment mandated compulsory education for all children between the ages of five and sixteen and devolved much of the education system’s management from the centre to the provinces. But more than nine million children do not receive a primary and secondary education, and quality of instruction varies widely between both genders and rural and urban areas. Madrasas and religious schools, many of which propagate religious extremism and sectarian hatred, seek to fill the gaps. In its latest briefing, Education Reform in Pakistan, the International Crisis Group examines the dysfunctional public education system and underlines the need to reform the curriculum and hold schools and teachers to acceptable standards.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Although its law requires Pakistan to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and sixteen, millions are still out of school, the second highest number in the world.
The quality of education in the public school sector remains abysmal, failing to prepare a fast growing population for the job market, while a deeply flawed curriculum fosters religious intolerance and xenophobia.
Poorly regulated madrasas and religious schools are filling the gap of the dilapidated public education sector and contributing to religious extremism and sectarian violence
The state must urgently reverse decades of neglect by increasing expenditure on the grossly-underfunded education system – ensuring that international aid to this sector is supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, the state’s financial commitment – and opt for meaningful reform of the curriculum, bureaucracy, teaching staff and methodologies.
“Before the eighteenth amendment was passed, school curriculums reflected an overly centralised state’s priorities, emphasising national cohesion – within a rigid ideological framework – at the expense of regional and religious diversity” says Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser. “Provincial governments can now reform deeply flawed curriculums that contribute to political, regional and religious intolerance, but there is also the risk that education programs will differ radically among provinces”.
“Pakistan needs to take bold steps to tackle its education crisis”, says Jonathan Prentice, Acting Asia Program Director. “Millions of children are still out of school, and the quality of education for those enrolled remains poor. This is more than a question of the rights of children, vital though that is; ultimately, it goes directly to the state’s ability to combat extremism. Decades of neglect can only be reversed by overhauling Pakistan’s academic curriculum and education bureaucracy”.
FULL REPORT

Education Reform in Pakistan

Islamabad/Brussels  |   23 Jun 2014

To combat religious extremism and sectarian violence, Pakistan must reform its education sector by boosting resources to public schools and updating the school curriculum to improve quality and remove divisive and discriminatory narratives.

Long underfunded, Pakistan’s system of public education has been further devastated by militant violence and natural disasters. Passed in 2010, the eighteenth constitutional amendment mandated compulsory education for all children between the ages of five and sixteen and devolved much of the education system’s management from the centre to the provinces. But more than nine million children do not receive a primary and secondary education, and quality of instruction varies widely between both genders and rural and urban areas. Madrasas and religious schools, many of which propagate religious extremism and sectarian hatred, seek to fill the gaps. In its latest briefing, Education Reform in Pakistan, the International Crisis Group examines the dysfunctional public education system and underlines the need to reform the curriculum and hold schools and teachers to acceptable standards.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • Although its law requires Pakistan to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and sixteen, millions are still out of school, the second highest number in the world.
  • The quality of education in the public school sector remains abysmal, failing to prepare a fast growing population for the job market, while a deeply flawed curriculum fosters religious intolerance and xenophobia.
  • Poorly regulated madrasas and religious schools are filling the gap of the dilapidated public education sector and contributing to religious extremism and sectarian violence
  • The state must urgently reverse decades of neglect by increasing expenditure on the grossly-underfunded education system – ensuring that international aid to this sector is supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, the state’s financial commitment – and opt for meaningful reform of the curriculum, bureaucracy, teaching staff and methodologies.

“Before the eighteenth amendment was passed, school curriculums reflected an overly centralised state’s priorities, emphasising national cohesion – within a rigid ideological framework – at the expense of regional and religious diversity” says Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser. “Provincial governments can now reform deeply flawed curriculums that contribute to political, regional and religious intolerance, but there is also the risk that education programs will differ radically among provinces”.

“Pakistan needs to take bold steps to tackle its education crisis”, says Jonathan Prentice, Acting Asia Program Director. “Millions of children are still out of school, and the quality of education for those enrolled remains poor. This is more than a question of the rights of children, vital though that is; ultimately, it goes directly to the state’s ability to combat extremism. Decades of neglect can only be reversed by overhauling Pakistan’s academic curriculum and education bureaucracy”.

FULL REPORT

9 Sep
Heed Syria refugee crisis | Lionel Beehner
The aerial footage of the Zaatari camp near Syria’s border with Jordan — row upon dusty row of squat trailers and tents as far as the eye can see, like a desert version of Oz — could become the iconic image of this war, along with photos of children gassed outside Damascus.
While the images of the chemical attacks capture the inhumanity of this conflict, the aerial shots of the camp capture the scale. More than 2 million Syrians have fled the war, half of them children, making it the world’s worst refugee crisis since Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Left unaddressed, the crisis risks destabilizing Syria’s neighbors and disposing any hope of instilling peace and democracy in the region.
FULL ARTICLE (USA Today) 
Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development/Flickr

Heed Syria refugee crisis | Lionel Beehner

The aerial footage of the Zaatari camp near Syria’s border with Jordan — row upon dusty row of squat trailers and tents as far as the eye can see, like a desert version of Oz — could become the iconic image of this war, along with photos of children gassed outside Damascus.

While the images of the chemical attacks capture the inhumanity of this conflict, the aerial shots of the camp capture the scale. More than 2 million Syrians have fled the war, half of them children, making it the world’s worst refugee crisis since Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Left unaddressed, the crisis risks destabilizing Syria’s neighbors and disposing any hope of instilling peace and democracy in the region.

FULL ARTICLE (USA Today) 

Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development/Flickr

25 Jan

Kenyan Somali Islamist Radicalisation

Africa Briefing N°85, 25 Jan 2012

Somalia’s growing Islamist radicalism is spilling over into Kenya. The militant Al-Shabaab movement has built a cross-border presence and a clandestine support network among Muslim populations in the north east and Nairobi and on the coast, and is trying to radicalise and recruit youth from these communities, often capitalising on long-standing grievances against the central state. This problem could grow more severe with the October 2011 decision by the Kenyan government to intervene directly in Somalia. Radicalisation is a grave threat to Kenya’s security and stability. Formulating and executing sound counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation policies before it is too late must be a priority. It would be a profound mistake, however, to view the challenge solely through a counter-terrorism lens.

Kenya’s North Eastern Province emerged as a distinct administrative entity dominated by ethnic Somalis after independence. It is, by most accounts, the worst victim of unequal development. A history of insurgency, misrule and repression, chronic poverty, massive youth unemployment, high population growth, insecurity, poor infrastructure and lack of basic services, have combined to produce some of the country’s bleakest socio-economic and political conditions.

Two decades of conflict in neighbouring Somalia have also had a largely negative effect on the province and Kenyan Somalis. The long and porous border is impossible to police effectively. Small arms flow across unchecked, creating a cycle of demand that fuels armed criminality and encourages clans to rearm. Somali clan-identity politics, animosities and jingoism frequently spill over into the province, poisoning its politics, undermining cohesion and triggering bloody clashes. The massive stream of refugees into overflowing camps creates an additional strain on locals and the country. Many are now also moving to major urban centres, competing with other Kenyans for jobs and business opportunities triggering a strong official and public backlash against Somalis, both from Somalia and Kenya.

FULL BRIEFING (crisisgroup.org)