Countering violent extremism through peace education

Countering violent extremism through peace education

Dr. Muhammad Rizwan Bhatti

Peace Education is vital to foster equilibrium thinking in society. The establishment of peace in society is irrevocably indispensable to nurture the wholesome security landscape in Pakistan. The abhorrent scourge of extremism, radicalization and violence has permeated so deep in the society, that combating with multiple layers of intolerance has become need of the hour. Undoubtedly, the jinx of extremism has engulfed us in its redoubtable talons. The recent incident of harassment of woman donning the attire of Arabic calligraphy speaks volume of our atrophied mind and stultification of society. Notwithstanding, police valiantly defended the victim and ASP Shehar Bano Naqvi bravely rescued her in the midst of religiously infused violent mob. The prompt response of police averted the happening of untoward incident. The brutal lynching of Piranha Kumara, Mishal Khan, Mughees and Muneeb Butt is still haunting us. The growing menace of violent extremism has also rendered the minorities vulnerable to violence. However, Peace Education is a pro-active approach to deal with the exponential surge of extremism in society through engaging students, teachers and vulnerable segment of society for better and enhanced security environment.

 Peace education helps in identifying the core conflict issues, resolving the same and then establishing the peace on long standing basis. In addition, the ideological refutation helps in crafting the harmonious society. The religion based and sectarian driven violence vitiates the society and enhances culture of violence which is contrary to the teachings of Islam.  The politicized postulation of community in the face of transforming socio- economic and political relations secures religious overtones. Hate speeches often utilized to dehumanize other individual or groups to give credence to their creed and justification of their violent acts in Pakistan .Education is significant instrument to transform and craft the deviant minds. Academics programmes are not solely related to curriculum but also nurture connection and association between people, group and communities to protect healthy, cooperative and conducive environment of development and enlightenment. The following strategies need to be put in place in order to eradicate the violence form society; inclusive resilience-building approach, mentoring approach and facilitating relevant cultural peace inducing program through comprehensive coordination between curriculum coordinators and Policy makers. However, the inculcation of peace and mapping the cogent policy requires knowledge of relevant policy outlines and its strength for practical implementation to get the solid result of peace education. Furthermore, the whetting of critical thinking and adoption of alternative narratives in view of rightful perception need to be dig out for the effective prevention of violence through education. There are massive reasons of radicalization including Geo-Political, socio-economic factors, conflict-ridden society and perennial grievances. Nevertheless, education alone cannot desist the threat of violence. We need to craft wholesome inclusive approach, resisting anti-social behaviour and building the community cohesion through developing various community engagement initiatives. Moreover, respect for diversity and religio-cultural differences can avert bipartisan and obscurantist thinking. Youth can be surely changed positively through the inculcation of wholesome and Peace education. The knowledge, vocational expertise and overt behaviour are the corner stone to combat the scourge of violence. The attainment and provision of formal education bolster peace, fortitude, patience and resilience as the academic institutions plays a pivotal role in wide spreading of thoughts and perceptions of world around.

 Violence is all pervasive in the societies since aegis. Violence and their link to massive extremism procure myriad of problems that garnered academic pursuit in the post 9/11 era. Education plays a vital role to support the cohesion and collaboration of the community. Peace education helps in building inclusive society and allocating funds to reinforce security measures. Violence is paramount handicap in the course of progress because it is the matter that infuses fear within communities. Education is an important solution and catalyst for critical thinking. The students require chiseling their cognitive thinking process and develop productive criticism with cogent extrapolations. Furthermore, the studying anti-social human behaviours are more wholesome and beneficial than mere approaching as human rights proponents help building community cohesion that is the redoubtable bulwark against the spread of violent extremism. The propagation of multiculturalism, acceptance of diversity, socio-political diffusion and community involvement in the counselling endeavour at educational institutions through influential actors such as mentor, families, students, notables and local community and tribal elders are awfully essential to root out the menace of extremism. Moreover, educational reforms at national level conducive to promote cultural and political pluralism help in countering extremism in all its forms and manifestations.  The socio-political resilience, critical thinking, cultural diversity, prevalence of justice, individual freedom, reciprocity of love, cohesive narrative, educating people about democratic norms and last but not the least healthy inter-religious discourse contribute in preventing and countering the violent extremism as the erroneous attitude and ignorance about democratic,social,political  norms and  dubious religious beliefs give rise to  violent radicalism. Nevertheless, across the world, violent extremism has evolved into a terrible problem for societies. It undermines the safety, welfare, and reputation of numerous members of society and people living in both developed and developing nations, as well as their peaceful and environmentally friendly way of life. Additionally, it seriously impedes the exercise of human rights freely. The difficulties posed by violent extremism have generally been explored via military and security lenses up until now. Therefore, soft approaches such as peace education and deradicalization is essential to tackle the extremism and obscurantism in all its forms and manifestations. However, we need to address the fourth wave of terrorism that is based on religious misinterpretation and misplaced ideological indoctrination through cultivating narrative of peace and amity that is possible only through propagation and inoculation of peaceful religious injunctions of Islam.

The writer is Ph.D in Political Science from Govt College University, Faisalabad . E:Mail : [email protected]