From October 29 to November 1, IWPR together with the Committee on Women and Family Affairs under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan held dialogue meetings and intellectual games for activists of the three border districts of Sughd region.
More than 500 people participated in these events in Mastchoh, Konibodom and Isfara districts.They discussed the reasons of the religious intolerance increase and the Tajik youth’s involvement in banned extremist and terrorist organizations. Before the discussion, the participants watch a short film about Tajik woman whose only son died in a war in Syria and Iraq. Participants of the events discussed the reasons of the spread of religious extremism, and, according to activists from all three regions, the reasons are the same everywhere.
Mastchoh district residents agreed that the lack of religious and secular education for young people was one of the main reasons for extremism. A similar opinion was also expressed in Konibodom and Isfara.In addition, unemployment was recognized as another reason in all three districts. Because of unemployment, young people are leaving for labor migration, where parents cannot control their adult children. The residents also complained that they lack sports and cultural institutions: people have nowh
ere to spend their free time; they cannot achieve their creative goals. According to residents, the construction of clubs, sports grounds, etc. will improve the situation and help countering extremism.
During the teamwork, representatives of local communities came up with ideas on how to reduce extremism and terrorism levels. It was proposed to increase the number of preschool institutions, organize various professional courses, trainings and jobs based on local resources.Mullomirak Mirzobokiev, 80, the resident of Pastigaf village of Ivan Tojik jamoat of the Mastchoh district, said that such events contribute to the unity of the people from his village. “I worked as a manager for more than 50 years, but I have not been participating in such event for a long time, when organizers are interested in the people’s opinion instead of lectures and instructions. This is very good, because it made us think about what we can do so that our children and grandchildren stop joining the banned groups.”
Intellectual games on “Religious Tolerance and Prevention of Violent Extremism” were held in each of the three districts.Young men and women from among students and schoolchildren from 15 to 28 years participated in the games. Experts and speakers talked with them about religious tolerance, world religions, religious legislation and countering violent extremism. The winners received memorable prizes.
The dialogue meetings with local activists and intellectual games for the youth are held by IWPR as part of the Stability in Central Asia via Open Dialog project. Similar meetings are held in many districts of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in order to increase tolerance level and reduce the radicalism spread among the population of Central Asian countries.