Stakeholders are consulted in Kosovo on the preliminary findings from the fieldwork research on offline and online (de-)radicalisation

Prishtina, November 30, 2021: In the framework of the PAVE project, the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) organized the second stakeholders meeting in order to discuss and consult the preliminary findings from the fieldwork concerning community vulnerability and resilience towards offline and online (de-)radicalization. Participants in the meeting included, among others, a senior official from the Division for Prevention and Reintegration of Radicalized Persons of the Department for Public Safety of the Ministry for Internal Affairs of Kosovo and former leaders of the Islamic Community of Kosovo, a student from the University of Prishtina, “Hasan Prishtina” active citizens from the municipality of Mitrovica, etc.

The meeting was divided into two parts. In the first part, senior researchers from the KCSS presented the empirical findings from the fieldwork research concerning community vulnerability towards offline and online (de-)radicalisation, which was followed by a discussion with the participants. Specifically, they were asked to comment if the findings hold from their perspective, and if there was something missing. Upon the conclusion of the second part, the same process was repeated for community resilience against online and offline (de-)radicalisation.

During the meetings participants confirmed the findings from the fieldwork research and also suggested some further elaboration with respect to the importance of fully involving religious leaders in preventing and countering violent extremism. Participants, suggested that there is an emerging online community that is on voluntary basis promoting counternarratives to violent extremism, such as the FolTash platform. Furthermore, the participants agreed that the lack of a process of dealing with the past in Kosovo, as well efforts of revisionism of the past and failure to assume responsibility for the crimes against humanity that were committed in Kosovo during the war is a major factor that creates vulnerability in the community. Participants, also agreed, that the strong secular character of the Kosovar society, societal customs and the tradition of religious tolerance in the country have shaped community resilience against radicalisation and violent extremism. The former religious leaders, attending the meeting, also argued that more cooperation and support from the government and international community for religious based organizations in preventing and countering violent extremism is essential, because they are best placed to deal with violent extremism at the community level.