Excessive harshness breeds extremism and terrorism, says Tajik veteran politician
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Recall, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon will address a joint meeting of both chambers of the parliament this month.
Shabdolov notes that the excessive harshness that the Tajik authorities have been practicing towards their opponents in recent years will not lead to anything good.
“The excessive harshness, used by any authorities, breeds extremism and terrorism,” the veteran politician said.
According to him, appearance of terrorist and extremist groups and movements such as Taliban, Islamic State and Salafi is partly the result the result of a tougher line taken against their followers by the authorities of the countries where they originated and found a certain support from the population.
“At the same time, I am convinced that the authorities should never be excessively soft and naïve in their domestic and foreign policy as it was during the rule of former presidents of Tajikistan Qahhor Mahkamov and Rahmon Nabiyev. A balance must be maintained in everything – both in rigidity and in humanity,” Shabdolov said.
He also hopes that the president will touch upon the issue of humanization of the country’s criminal and procedure legislation and problems facing Tajik labor migrants in the Russian Federation.
“Media reports say that Dushanbe and Moscow have reached an agreement on the labor migration issues, but the sometimes inhuman attitude of the authorities and citizens of Russia towards labor migrants still remains,” Shabdolov added.
According to some sources, Tajikistan has produced the second largest number of foreign fighters per capita in Central Asia, with over 1,300 Tajiks traveling abroad to join extremist insurgencies in Iraq and Syria. Given the ease in which illicit activity moves throughout the Central Asian region due to porous and unenforced borders, it is possible that radicalized Tajiks could help prop up extremist cells on both domestic and international soil.
Although the Tajik authorities claim that the majority of Tajik foreign fighters are Salafists, data produced by the International Center for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) suggests that radicalization is not contingent on a recruit’s former piety. ICCT’s data revealed that conservative and religious regions have had fewer people convicted for terrorism related charges and lack of income tends to be the primary motivating force in radicalization. Extremist sentiment and membership is reportedly more likely among migrant labor workers, with over 85 percent of Tajik fighters in Iraq and Syria having been migrant workers in Russia. Given the lack of employment opportunities in Tajikistan, Tajiks often migrate to Russia in search of employment. When resettled, they grapple with racism and feelings of insignificance, which extremists have leveraged for recruitment purposes. The IS terror group’s recruiters often target individuals who are socially isolated or who have experienced a degree of trauma and are searching for validation and community support. The ostracization and harassment the migrants face in Russia is conducive to extremist recruitment as radicalized individuals provide a narrative of significance and impact that convincingly sways dispirited demographics.
Source: Asia Plus