Ruslan Kurbanov: “Radicalization of Muslim young people
By Vestnik Kavkaza
Expert opinion on the issue of radicalization of Islam in Russia and how to solve it. What are the reasons for the rise of extremism? How to resist the spread of radical ideas?
According to Ruslan Kurbanov, senior researcher at the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, people can talk for hours about radicalization of Islam. “There are different causes of radicalization of Muslims, they include poverty, the level of education and socio-economic problems, frequent armed conflicts in the areas where Muslim nations live, and maybe the destruction of traditional society, which is going too fast, in terms of the attack on this traditional society by the post-modern information society, etc. But I would like to reduce these many reasons that have already been discussed many times to one. As a scientist, I think I will find understanding among my colleagues in expressing my opinion that, in general, radicalization has historically taken place among different nations, for different reasons but it happens. That is, once, say, Russian youth was radicalised, when at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries there was a movement of bombers who blew up tsars, officials and employees of the Tsarist secret police. There was a rapid radicalization of Russian youth. There were various reasons for this, they do not look the same as the reasons for today's radicalization of Muslim youth. Today, the radicalization of Muslim youth - these are ideological trends, ideological incoming germs. There are reasons behind them, and we should study them,” the scientist believes.
However, he says that instead of a serious discussion about the causes of radicalization of Muslim youth today, we see an escalation of Islamophobia in the media: “Fear, hatred, mistrust, alienation. And in fact, through the escalation of Islamophobia a line of alienation is drawn between social groups of Russian society.”
Why is this happenin? Ruslan Kurbanov answers that he would understand if the state and society would treat the problem of the radicalization of young people, of a part, a segment of Russian civil society in a fatherly way: “Yes, this is a temporary, shall we say, obsession. Yes, it is a disease, a serious illness, it involves human victims, clashes and armed attacks. But it is a disease, it should be treated. That is, carefully, in a fatherly way, we should work out everything and cure this disease. But instead, the problem of the radicalization of Muslim youth that began in the wake of the war in Chechnya, suddenly is accompanied by the creation of a powerful industry of money making. Trading of corpses, the arms trade, trading of positions, getting general's stars, knocking out the budgets of the federal government, through trading on instability in the Caucasus - this is what the elites of the Caucasian republics do.
That is, around radicalization, around this problem, a powerful industry was born of the power structures of the media, of dishonest officials and politicians. Everyone is trying to radicalize this problem to earn more dividends: political, financial, career, information dividends, ratings for the media, etc. It turns out that instead of treating the problem, much of the most influential segments of society are involved in the exacerbation of the problem, and they push young people out into the forests, into the hands of radical preachers, to the militants, so as to escalate this problem, and get even more budget money for this mythic struggle against terrorism.”
The Russian expert believes that this corrupt component, when a significant number of influential figures in the Russian political arena is interested in exacerbating the problem, does not allow us today to get out of this vicious circle.