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PREVENTION Young people most susceptible to violent extremism

CIVIL started the series of signing of memorandums of cooperation and partnership in the fight against violent extremism with the Ministry of Interior, and continues it at the local level.

The Mayor of Kumanovoo, Maksim Dimitrievski, was the  first Mayor on behalf of a municipality to sign a Memorandum of cooperation in the fight against violent extremism.

Dimitrievski stated that Kumanovo is not immune to this global phenomenon, having in consideration that it concerns a multicultural and multi-ethnic environment. Xhabir Deralla, President of CIVIL, explained that the cooperation with the municipality will enable a more quality approach for all stakeholders in the area of preventing violent extremism.

“Violence does not lead to any results. The only dialogue is the right form of finding solutions to possible problems. The Municipality of Kumanovo will work in the following period, within the framework of its legal possibilities, together with all the institutional at the local and central level, in the area of prevention of violent extremism. We have worked successfully until now, but we are not immune to national extremism…Our obligation as a municipality is to give equal opportunities for all, but at the same time taking care that our citizens are not used for additionally creating and generating conflicts”, stated Dimitrievski after the signing of the Memorandum.

He highlighted that not a single municipality is immune to religious extremism, which has contributed more than once for citizens to flee to foreign battlegrounds, mostly in the Middle East. Furthermore, Dimitrievski outlined that sports arenas should not be a place for violence, but for achieving high results.

“The extremism that appears in society should be eradicated from its very start. The beginnings are precisely in the educational system”, said Dimitrievski, calling on professors and teachers to discuss this topic and to actively get involved in the fight against extremism, first and foremost, before it becomes violent extremism.

Deralla, on the other hand, after the signing of the Memorandum, said to the present participants who were invited to participate in the working meeting “Communities against violent extremism” that with the forming of the working group, it will be possible to jointly work through a multidisciplinary approach in preventing violent extremism.

“Before the 192 call, there is a long, complicated at times, multidisciplinary process in which we need to act according to our capacities, each from our own positions. It is important for us to realize that each of us, in a role of a parent, dedicated worker, representative of an NGO…, the security culture demands to have in consideration the roles of every individual and of every community in dealing with issues related to violent extremism”, stated Deralla.

Representatives of the local government, schools, the police, the civil society sector and representatives of institutions dealing with this problem participated in the working meeting.

Through a discussion, the sources of the initial origins of violent extremism were mapped. The participants concluded that the focus should be aimed at the young people, and that the greatest risk of developing extremism among them is between the age of 14 and 17. Furthermore, there was an opinion that the circumstances in the educational system do not give teachers and professors much time to dedicate themselves to the role of mentors, since they barely have the time to be educators. The representatives of schools consider that parents have the greatest fault in the development of violence primarily among young people.

One of the suggestions in reviewing this problem was for the role of the teaching staff to isolate the child from the parent influence and for the child to face the problem through its own eyes.

There was also a suggestion for including social workers equally as much as the police, in which the young people need to gain trust, and not repulsion.

At the end of the working meeting, a working group was formed that will be working on organizing public events in Kumanovo for promoting the need of prevention and in the fight against violent extremism, through multi-disciplinary activities.

The events are within the framework of the project “Communities against violent extremism”, which is supported by the US Embassy in Skopje.

Biljana Jordanovska

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