Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Documentary Journalist/Producer/Educationist, Sharmeen Obaid Films

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Can counter radicalization programs work in the Muslim World?

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia are all Muslim Countries with overwhelmingly young populations- High levels of illiteracy & unemployment plague them- Disillusioned with the system, they are easily radicalized-
How can these societies prevent this from happening?
What type of counter radicalization programs should be implemented?
Who should implement them?

I am looking for models that may have worked in other countries- Or ideas that can specifically be adapted to these countries-

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    Mar 3 2011: The best way to counter radicalized religion in any country (including the US) is the eraditation of poverty and war. It is when people have to watch their parents killed or grow up without the basics of life that they are vulnerable to literal interpretations of religious texts that promise a better life after the brutal one being experienced. In order to secure that better life they are willing to follow the ancient writings to the literal letter. Creating a better world here might work wonders.
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    Mar 4 2011: Something as small as giving them a chance to express themselves. They might have not had an opportunity to feel the caring environment where their concerns are listened to and not judged. We have provided no mediums of reflection to them and their extremist views and literal explanations at grass root level are therefore understandable. On the contrary, the people ruling them have their own agendas which need counter attacks. We need to provide these victims of hatred what their influencers are not providing them. I cannot suggest a model but I can confidently assert that compassion should be part of all these programs to be successful.
  • Feb 27 2011: i live in Indonesia, i am a Muslim. i have seen our anti terrorist forces root out the bad guys, and there are TV interviews in my country showing how they think, act, and their "visions to the future" these people know which people can they brainwash and which cant. the problem lies in the villages and remote areas of the countries, where education is present, but of horrible quality whereas we people in the big cities enjoy world class education. And to make matters worse, a problem since the time of the Caliphs: proper religious educating certifications. Anyone can teach and preach islam in mosques and schools and say anything they want, and convinced people that it is Islam. these isolated societies are easily deceived. i think effective counter radicalization programs is simply to teach Islam properly in schools, to improve education and socialize with the society, with proper certified educators. because there are far more easier ways to go to heaven in Islam instead of blowing ourselves up. these societies respect anything with the name Islam, and a proper mission with "real" Ulamas and Imams make all the difference. because there are verses in the quran saying to strictly not to kill ourselves for any reason.
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    Mar 1 2011: I think if we sent more than 150,000 educators and health care professionals, loaded with books, pencils and medicine things can change (there are currently estimates of over 150,000 military personal in Afghanistan alone). Wow, can you imagine what would happen? What if we stopped selling small arms to conflict nations and instead of military checkpoints and we built hundreds of World Class Universities. What if the troops in Afghanistan were all workers from Non-Profit organizations? And, what if radical Islam was truly and in an unbiased manner connected with the rest of the world? What if? B/c in the end it requires the same scale of budget as the world's military budget.
    • Mar 3 2011: Actually, it is not as simple as just providing education, etc. For example, every one of the September 11 hijackers had college degrees (some of them had PhD's). Also, the underwear bomber (on the Delta Flight) had a degree in mechanical engineering and came from an affluent family.

      If we want to take a courageous and unbiased look at the problem, we need to look at as many of the relevant factors as possible. This includes reading what is actually written in the Koran, even if you may not necessarily like what you see when you do so. If you do, keep in mind that when there are apparent contradictions, then the later chapters supersede the previous chapters.
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      Mar 10 2011: My knowledge here is somewhat thin, but I understand that in significant parts of the 3rd world, a large preponderance of doctors sent from overseas come from Cuba, and that Cuba has a considerable program for training doctors to work throughout the world. Might this be playing a part in the uncanny ability of that little island to resist the concerted ire of its considerably more powerful neighbour to the north for so long? (Possibly someone with more direct or comprehensive knowledge than I would care to comment?)
  • Mar 15 2011: Muslims often send thier children to madrass where education is narrow apprach restricted to Islam . Hence we must ban madrass education system in muslim nations. All schools must teach respect for all religions . Education reforms in muslim nations is only way and for world peace . Progressive muslims can help in this direction. Muslim women also have to change in terms of martial relations which are one sided . Slow reforms will bring lot of changes.
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    Mar 1 2011: What is happening in those countries of your example are due the result of politics , it would rather be fare to say bad politics resulted from economic greed. Improving literacy and poverty reduction definitely will be good tool to overcome the situation , but first have to stop bad politics around it. Just making people literate to sign some documents or read some papers will not bring that much change if they are not really educated. Being educated I mean having the capability and willingness of the society at large to think with an open mind which may need external support but the drive for change must come from inside for its sustainability & success.
  • Feb 28 2011: A moderate middleclass is needed in the Arab world. The combination of poverty and dictatorships have kept the moderate middle class from evolving for the most part. Add the perceived war on the Moslem states from the U.S and their allies promoting the dictatorships and strengthening radical Islamafacists. Yet, there is hope given the recent response across Arabia. The U.S needs to develop a different response which is more inclusive than war (imagine that).The last 100 years have been exploitave. We need to engage the people on some other level. As they are demonstrating, the people in the Arab States can bring about change. We must end war, promote dialogue, help spread the wealth (that's a novel idea), and try to remove religion from the equation. Then, we may figure something out.
  • Feb 25 2011: The Muslim world is not your average poor population which can be turned around. They live by the thing they believe in and changing those societies is something I'm sure I won't see in my lifetime.
    • Feb 28 2011: What is the difference then? What makes the muslim beliefs so much more rigid and unchangeable compared to other cultures?
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    Feb 15 2011: I think the models demonstrated by Charles Leadbeater and Sugata Mitra could work the middle east as well.

    After all, the reasons for joining a radical group aren't much different than joining a criminal group - it all boils down to poverty and lack of vision for the future. The only difference is that doing crimes and making unprotected sex a lot (and becoming HIV positive in the process) is seen as a solution for the present, whereas heavenly promises are seen as a solution for the future.

    Anything that teaches something that can be used "now" alongside the "useful when you grow up" subjects is going to work. Actual reach to poor families and students (as opposed to you expecting them to come to you) and asking them to join for free if they wish is the thing that will make the most difference. And I think it's the "free" part that is the most difficult to implement, due to what I'm assuming is a "weak government" (if it wasn't, they'd have good public schools already).