Leaders Recognize Religious Radicalization as Problem in Central Asian States

ICC Note: From February 22-23, 2018, five Central Asian and European Union leaders met to discuss the most pressing issues surrounding Central Asia. One of the topics included religious radicalization. All leaders recognized that radicalization in Central Asia influences religious violence around the world and religious freedom must become a priority to combat radicalization.  

03/05/2018 Central Asia (Astana Times) – Fighting terrorism and extremism, including radicalisation, tackling drug and arms trafficking as well as environment and water management issues are among key security challenges faced by the European Union (EU) and Central Asia, according to experts who gathered Feb. 22-23 in Astana for the international conference marking the 25 anniversary of diplomatic ties between the EU and Central Asia.

Director of Sharq Research Centre in Tajikistan Muzaffar Olimov pointed out the Central Asian region is at the intersection of global interests.

“The region is located close to a hotbed of instability and conflict bearing all negative processes happening in the neighbouring region and beyond,” said Olimov, referring to the worsening situation in Afghanistan and radicalisation processes as main security challenges.

The challenge for both the EU and the five Central Asian nations, Olimov noted, is in finding the balance between the human dimension and security and, in particular, between “fighting violent extremism and respect for human rights.”

“The problem is very evident in radicalisation of migrants. Over the past years, the assumption was formed that migrants are vulnerable to religious radicalisation. Research shows that more than 80 percent of the Central Asian migrants were recruited while working as labour migrants,” reported Olimov.

Radicalisation could be explained by social reasons, he said. These include inequality, poverty, discrimination, low level of education and of participation in the political decision-making process and crisis identity common for labour migrants.

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For interviews with Amy Penn, ICC’s Central Asia Correspondent, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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