Extremism has remained one of the most serious problems faced by modern countries in different forms. Radicalism easily standout amongst the most significant issues confronted by present nations. There are many forms of extremism ranging from ethnonational to religious. For Instance, Russia is facing more of a national extremism form, Pakistan is facing more of a religious extremism form and some other under developed countries are facing violent extremism. There has been a long fight against extremism on different levels sometimes involving even allied forces. Pakistan has been part of such allied forces. However, the difficulty of identifying and complexity of Extremism’s rise and its type in Pakistan has remained one major obstacle in countering it. Use of force and armies to eradicate it has not been proved too fruitful and there should be another way to counter it. “Although extremism has been fought collectively by many countries and Pakistan has remained part of some of these forces however similar approach like sole use of force as other countries in order to eradicate extremism cannot be implied in Pakistan further, therefore, it should be dealt by a better-modified approach because first of all different values in youth, second divergent ethnic, national, religious background and events occurred in Pakistan’’. As extremism is a broad topic this research essay will primarily explain the perception of extremism in youth, it’s advent in Pakistan and academic modifications in order to eliminate extremism from the basis. This essay will be more of informative and persuasive type while providing different arguments to support the thesis and counter-arguing most possible rebuttals.
There are many factors which play important role in developing extremism on the general ground some of them are Radical political ideologies, genocide, economic instability, social instability and other events like natural disasters which can create some leftist groups. It can change lives of people in an instant. Traditional scholars have stated the key problem with extremist ideologies is it provide value semantic domains and sense of in group as well as the sphere of social and personal identity including ethical one. According to Michelle J. Genfald, Fatalistic (low individual control) societies which are densely populated (less tolerance, more humiliation) and are more masculine in nature as compared to other cultures are more likely to develop extremism (Zinchenko 323). Based on such researches and facts one easily gets the idea that extremism has diverse roots basically. And one should take into consideration the point that in most cases socially excluded groups are the target and basis of extremism’s rise. Moreover, in current time there is social inequality which in the end results in uncertainty that can sew the seed of terrorism or extremism later on. Radicalism is another concept related to these terminologies which can be referred as inflicting extremist views into targeted people over the course of time. It is usually done to children and teenagers by different methods including religious, motivative, and purpose oriented those are totally unconscious of it. At the end becoming intrinsic and thus using such kids when required for their respective objectives.
Extremism usually grows in Youth of any society and from there develops into a national level threat, therefore, it should be dealt on the root level. Modifying academic curriculum and molding it in a way to make youth aware of concept what extremism or radicalization really is should be the primary goal of responsible authorities. Youngsters are usually immature in socio-psychological terms and are usually in the search of purpose of their lives. Young people are in constant search of their own identity whether national or social. That’s why it makes them a most vulnerable group to such activities. In addition to this for a country like Pakistan with a diverse history and mixing of different religions ruled by Muslims, Hindus, and Britain makes this situation a lot worst. Because of constant throwing of different ideologies on immature can make them weak socially and personally. Thus, the youth of Pakistan can be seen as a primary target of radicalization that’s why some steps should be made to protect youth from such activities. Thus, eradication of extremism by force can be used as a tool but in the end, it is only a short-term solution. Moreover, people falling for this are fellow citizens of the same country. That’s why it requires a different approach to counter radicalization. Some prescribed steps can be educating youth inter-religious and intercultural views and giving them overall worldview. Such changes have already been implied by countries like New Zealand and Australia and have been proved fruitful there (Tandfonline). Such modifications in the academic curriculum are specially required in Pakistan.
Their importance cannot be neglected any further following the tragic incidents like Qandeel Baloch and Mashal Khan’s murder cases. These cases show the mentality of Pakistan’s youth. Such cases are solely the result of extremism and intolerance which is prevailing our society. These views are affecting our society from generation to generation becoming deep successively with each passing peer group. Contemporary results by some scholars cannot be considered affecting observing current situation and complexity ranging from training school kid to ideologies and intolerance within university students. One modern study conducted by a group of Scholars from “Lomanosov Moscow State University” and “University of Humanities, Surikova” suggests that usual perception about extremism in young people have been just beginning to shape, define, and develop. Such perceptions among youth are mostly narrow and are not well differentiated in consciousness. The Same study also says that almost 67% of youth had no major idea “What extremism actually is?”. Moreover, as young people are more goal oriented and passionate extremist tend to be more rational than emotional. In addition to it, modern studies suggest that now in terms of Extremists, Worldview instability, Immaturity, and search for one’s identity makes youth most vulnerable group (Zinchenko). Ultimately extremists are not emotionally weak and are passionately committed to ideas and goals. Which makes it all come to on end that our young generation should make to learn different perspectives of societies and religions to make children more tolerant in future and provide them a stable world and societal view.
Pakistan in a start has suffered from ethnic and national extremism then this trend got a shift from ethnonational to religious extremism. Taking into consideration the pace in which technology, society, and economies are changing one can analyze the probability of the rise a different kind of extremism. Which ultimately outcomes the need to educate people about all this from the most basic level possible as built in thoughts are hard to remove. Consequently, first extremism should be clearly defined and then it should be categorized accordingly. Observing Pakistani society and norms it can be defined as everyone is fundamentalist basing their usual routine on some intrinsic fundamentals running down in their clans, caste, family or religion. If one’s fundamentals are different from others and to prove their fundamentals right and legislative there is the use of force then it is called Extremism. The narrowed down the possibility of difference is extremism basically. Thus, based on above-mentioned criteria there are these possible witnessed forms of extremists Skinhead fascism, Nazi parties, white supremacy, militia groups, violent extremism, radicalization, political fascism, Holocaust, race hate, religious cults, anti-homosexuality, anti-Semitism, violent animal rights (domestic extremism), violent political activism. Author Robert Pape in his famous writing Dying to Win (2005) analyzed 315 suicide attacks over the span of 25 years and stated, “there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism or any of the World’s Religions”. Hence religious extremism can be taken as a mere tool in order to achieve their strategic goals in broader terms or to recruit people more easily and getting their loyalty for the organization (Pape 2005). By observing these facts Pakistan’s current situation can be analyzed easily. Beginning from 1971, separation of east and west Pakistan resulted in breaking two nation theory and identity of being Pakistani stumbled as a result. Following this tragic event was Islamization and Nationalization which further led to the discrepancy, loss of control over people and male dominant society.
Economy and society were destroyed by war at such time government were thrown and martial law was imposed which resulted in strengthening provincial politics over national politics. All these events affected Pakistan’s national identity and societal structure which was the root cause of creating socially excluded groups of people those who cannot adapt to new conditions. Thus, ensued national extremism unconsciously. The situation got even worse and this national extremism was converted into religious extremism. When the wave of Sectarianism affected Pakistan as the funding of different madrasas by political activist countries took place in order to make their hold strong. Yes, such events occurred after famous Iranian revolution which led both Iran and Saudi Arabia to fund militant groups against each other in Pakistan because of its geographical importance. After that training of young people to fight a war against the Soviet Union to tear apart USSR just for the sake of making relations better with America. Then when the war was over these used soldiers named as T.T.P were left on their own without any support even Pakistani government acting against these groups in end. Such irresponsible steps ignite the will of extremism and radicalization used by many international militant organizations. Such groups provide these excluded, confused and hatred fills people support, identity, ideology and a sense of being part of a specific society consisting of others sharing same tragedies as them. Ultimately training and using these radicalized people for their own benefit and achieving goals. Because of such developments in a short time period, forever changing the environment and contrasting foreign politics it makes education against radicalization and extremism a necessity at primary level. Thus, developing and passing a positive mind set with every passing level of education.
In this age of globalization consecutive contacts, information, culture and idea sharing between countries is key to prosperity and insurance better future. This includes knowing one’s culture and the situation at best and then representing it on international platforms. Such measures are usually taken to give the world a positive image of the country thus taking advantage from this international capita in country’s interest. Educated people play a most important role here while representing their country in each and every possible geography leaving an impact on others of their culture, society, and ideas. There is no use in fighting terrorism extensively without making the world realize that country and its people are fighting and sacrificing their lives to protect their loved ones. Nevertheless, countering most radicalized form of violent extremism is not possible with just education unless some legal and government forces are used. However, observing current scenario Pakistan is at the advantage of winning this fight with armed forces but the fight of ideologies and mentality is the one which still needs to be conquered. In view of above-mentioned suggestions and reasons why and how it must be counted with educational reforms. There is another point which can be accessed as easily as no one recognizes one’s achievements, feats, and sacrifices unless one is persuaded to listen to them. Hence making Pakistan’s people able to convey their thoughts and ideas on every platform should be the foremost priority. Thus, providing the world a view of what really is occurring, what they have experienced and how they battled it.
Addition to this education, educators, and students should not be just confined with orientalists or western scholars and should also include work of Islamic scholars. Including work of such Islamic scholars those have a large following and are working for peace, de-radicalization and against extremism will make this modification more acceptable and effective. For example, Dr. Tahir Ul Qadri has written many books including, “Islamic Curriculum on Peace and Counter Terrorism” against extremism and is actively preaching de-radicalization (Minhaj.org). Jot down work from such scholars will prove beneficiary on every level from primary to higher even to teachers and other scholars. Barack Obama ex- president of United States of America identified the nature of violent extremism and gave this response in UNESCO on 29th of September, “Ideologies are not defeated by guns but new ideas,” he said. “The path is not less democracy but more democracy, HR and the rule of law”. “We have to work together to build diverse, tolerant, inclusive societies to defeat violent extremism,” (Unesco.org). Thus, defeating ideologies by ideology and spreading awareness (within own society and in the world) should be the first move to eliminate this curse of extremism from its roots. Which ultimately is only possible through the course of educating people and making them able to express national views on international forums.
Educated people can be seen as a tool to fight extremism however from some past years there has been regulation of reports that many educated people are also found to be in link with organizations like T.T.P, ISIS e.tc. Such incidents are predictable keeping an eye on to what extent such organizations have links in and to check their mode of acting. A professor from Lahore University of Management Sciences was arrested back in 2016 due to links with ISIS (Pakistantv.tv). Moreover, a national survey report of America shows almost 180 educated Americans have tried to join ISIS in Syria and Libya (cnn.com). Such reports cannot be neglected when formulating a policy to counter terrorism. There can be a drop scene for this approach of teaching people. However, such accusations can only be formed on bases neglecting the whole survey which shows most of the involvement was by disillusioned young people trying to find purpose or make their mark affected adversely by radicalization. Radicalization is done by the organization over a span of significant time while the targeted person remains unconscious about it at all. Adding to this all these counter points emphasized in one sense or other that there is an actual need to educate even educated people.
The concept here is not just to make people learn but to make them learn certain subjects, modifying curriculum in a way that radicalization has no longer any effect on people. Such results and reports instead of showcasing failure of education show reality that educational curriculum should change and there must be the authority over it to keep check and balance. Including de-radicalization practices is most important, those have been proved worthy to give try by Pakistan Army. As army is already using the same technique to de-radicalize children those were under the influence of Taliban (terrorists). Such practices are usually based on the period of six months. By analyzing above mentioned surveys observing lack in the current education system and redesigning it can make this approach quite beneficial. Proof for that is Australian curriculum which was changed some years back to give Australians sense of a worldview, positive mentality, interreligious and intercultural information hence educating people acts of acceptance of differences and tolerance (Halafoff, 365, Tandfonline). These techniques have remained fruitful in long run. Hence mixing of such techniques with knowledge of Islamic scholars to formulate an evolutionary academic approach to eradicate extremism will be the most important step towards win of peace against terrorism. One must keep in mind terrorism mentioned here is not just suicide bombing or other such attacks but the whole idea of extremist views like political fascism, racism and all.
Love and compassion are the core values taught by the majority of religions in World including Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism e.tc. Sinister occurs when some of the groups with unidentical ideologies make their way to use such religions and its followers to achieve some strategic objectives. Based on their respective objectives their mode of acting and conducting is selected. Such modes further lead from just debates to wars and terrorism. Between all this ideological, mental societal, power and religious fights loss occurs of common people. Those common people which were marginalized (left by their own society, left in disillusion, left without any identity, left to crumble on their own) and then get recruited, trained by some militant groups after which used and trashed like some tissues.
This is pretty much the situation this country has in hand. So, Pakistan is in dire need to educate people especially youngsters in order to make them realize their social stature in, their purpose, their identity, the risks and repercussions of falling to things like extremism and terrorism. Hence making them ready to counter such ill mentalities and enabling them with de-radicalization cause in last such breed can become able not to just fight it but also become able to make the world realize their conscious efforts, loss, sacrifices and winnings against this curse of extremism. Now it is more of a necessity than just a shot worth giving. As Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind” (bbc.co.uk).
Anna Halafoff (2015) Education about Diverse Religions and Worldviews,Social Inclusion and Countering Extremism: Lessons for the Australian Curriculum, Journal ofIntercultural Studies, 36:3, 362-379, DOI: 10.1080/07256868.2015.1029889
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“Americans linked to ISIS.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 12 May 2017. <http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2015/04/us/americans-isis/>.
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Pape, R (2005) Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism New York
Zinchenko, Yury P., Elena B. Perelygina, and Olga Y. Zotova. “Perceptions of Extremism in the Youth Daily Consciousness.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 233 (2016): 322-26. Web. 6 May 2017.
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