Countries in the Western Balkans have gained much international attention in recent years as exporters of foreign fighters. Since 2012, an estimated 900 people from the region have joined ISIS or similar organisations. Yet this phenomenon varies considerably from community to community.
Why are some communities particularly affected by extremism, yet others in similar socioeconomic settings remain almost untouched? We looked into this question together with local partners.
Based on interviews and observations in communities throughout Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia, four country case studies aim to find effective strategies to prevent and address violent extremism at the local level.
Currently, there is a lack of awareness regarding violent extremism in many local communities in the region. Also, negative attitudes towards the prioritisation of preventing violent extremism can be observed.
The country studies identify that main factors that contribute to community resilience include
Our initial recommendations for further action:
The four case studies will be discussed at the expertconference Community Perspectives on Preventing Violent Extremism from the Western Balkansat the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 20 November 2018 (for further information, please contact c.huch[at]berghof-foundation[dot]org).
A detailed comparative study that will identify similarities and differences between the respective country contexts and make recommendations for future prevention strategies will be published in December 2018.