ISIS propaganda photo. | Photo Dabiq magazine.

UNDP: Extremism in Kosovo has grown in the past two decades

Citing socio-economic factors, disappointment in state institutions, and isolation as main push factors, a new report finds that perceptions of violent extremism in Kosovo have increased.

The influence of extremist groups in Kosovo has risen in the last two decades, claimed researchers at the launch of the new Public Pulse Analysis report about prevention of violent extremism in Kosovo, funded by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, and USAID.

The study focuses on the perceptions about violent extremism in Kosovo. Researchers combined a synthesized analysis of previous studies and polls conducted between 2012-2015 with findings from three focus groups conducted in January 2017 in Prishtina, Gjilan, and Hani i Elezit.

The report concludes that the influence of extremist groups in Kosovo has grown since the end of the Kosovo War.

“Focus group results confirm the findings from the aforementioned research that the influence of extremist groups in Kosovo increased in the last two decades and that the level of perceived religious radicalism in Kosovo rose,” the report states.

The report also analyzes Kosovo society’s capacities to “resists internal and external pressures of extremist ideologies,” explained Atdhe Hetemi, the project’s manager, during the report launch.

According to Hetemi, perceived religious radicalization in Kosovo has grown. The research also maps out the main push and pull factors that make radicalization possible.

“The main push factors identified are disappointment with the performance of Kosovo key executive, legislative and judiciary institutions, sense of isolation, as well as identity crisis and extremist indoctrination, unemployment, poverty and other socio-economic conditions, specifically weak education system,” the report reads.

Main pull factors identified from the focus groups were  personal convictions and philosophical commitment, expectation of material and spiritual rewards, influence of some Middle East-educated imams, and Middle East humanitarian organizations active in Kosovo after the 1999 conflict.

The report also lists a few recommendation, highlighting that key actors in preventing violent extremism were municipalities, civil society and religious communities.

Recommendations include the introduction of religious education in Kosovo without compromising the secular nature of Kosovo’s education system; empowering regional police cooperation; and engaging parents in schools.

28/06/2017 - 16:45

28 June 2017 - 16:45