University Students Discuss Early Signs, Prevention of Radicalization

Students from universities in Bosnia attended a one-day workshop in Sarajevo, organised by the Regional Cooperation Council at the Faculty for Criminology and Security Studies, to discuss the early signs of radicalization in their local communities, radicalization narratives, abuse of freedom of expression to instigate hatred and intolerance as well as the channels most frequently used for such activities.

The workshop has been opened by Samir Rizvo, Assistant Minister at the Bosnian Ministry of Security, Amer Kapetanović, Head of the RCC Political Department, and Nedžad Korajlić, Dean of the Faculty for Criminology and Security Studies of the University in Sarajevo.

Assistant Minister Rizvo presented the activities of Bosnia and Herzegovina in countering radicalization and violent extremism, stressing that continuous awareness raising on radicalization/terrorism and theirs effects is necessary, including the whole society in the process, especially focusing on the youth that appear to be highly vulnerable to this narrative.

RCC’s Kapetanović reminded about the findings of the RCC-commissioned Study “A Waiting Game: Assessing and Responding to the Threat from Returning Foreign Fighters in the Western Balkans” saying that more than 1,000 men and woman from the Western Balkans joined terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq between 2012 and 2016. According to some estimates, 200 of them were killed, 300 returned home, some of them highly traumatized and even ready to continue radicalizing others’, the study finds.

“We need to better understand overall societal context that allows radical narratives to grow. Nothing happens without a strong correlation and we have to comprehend it there where the real life begins – in our local communities! Why would someone, and it could be someone among us, get hooked on the radical narrative so strongly that he/she is tomorrow ready to join the terrorist group or attack people in the street?” said Kapetanović.

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