On 16 October the OSCE Academy hosted a round table “The Impact of Economic and Social Development in Central Asia on the Radicalization of Youth and the Attractiveness of the IS” with the participation of students from Nazarbayev University and the OSCE Academy Masters program "Politics and Security".
During the meeting, Alumna of the OSCE Academy Almakan Orozobekova, who also holds a Master of Advanced Studies in International and European Security (MAS) from Geneva Centre for Security Policy, presented her research “Mobilization and Recruitment of Foreign Fighters: the Case of the Islamic State”. The researcher stressed an institutional factor that plays the main role in Arab and Central Asian countries. The ISIS is seen as the largest organization, able to change the lives of Muslims. At the same time, the extremists from Europe and the West are driven by individual factors, such as the problems of identity and conflicts in a multicultural society.
In his turn, Bektur Iskender, a Journalist and co-founder of News Portal Kloop.kg, shared his experience of reporting on the ISIS in Central Asia, censored by the authorities in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. As his case raises the issues of media freedom, it proved to be also divisive for his audience today.
Franco Galdini, a viisiting scholar of the AUCA, said that, among other things, there is no functioning system in the region which would track the number of newly recruited ISIS members. In addition, the vague definitions of terrorism and extremism complicates the analysis of the ISIS issue. Speaking about the threat for the region, Mr. Galdini stressed that for a more effective fight against the ISIS, it may be necessary to revise the domestic policies of the Central Asian states to respond to the economic concerns of the population.