GroundTruth: Exploring Religious Tolerance Among Young Kenyans in Nairobi and Mombasa
Any summary of such an extraordinarily complex situation where global and local, historical, geographical, social, economic, cultural, political and religious forces are all in constant interplay and flux, risks oversimplification; and that is what CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) represents. That said, the central conclusion is that given the level of disruption, communities are remarkably resilient. Communities and individuals within them feel disenfranchised, angry, victimized and hopeless yet even then only a tiny proportion rebel or turn against each other. Most are resilient; they make do and hustle to solve the ‘everyday crisis’ that is their daily lives.
Young and old have a common understanding of what makes up a good community; they can see the fault lines and the solutions and they are still determined to maintain harmony.Connections are what maintain their resilience; connections between families and businesses, religious groups and leaders, antisocial groups and communities,the state and its citizens. Some of these connections are stronger than others and their evident success and influence is what encourages us to make recommendations to strengthen or build them. The genius of al-Shabaab is that they too understand these factors and exploit them for maximum impact.
Those seeking to counter extremism should reinforce and protect that unity with a broad web of initiatives that support the majority rather than attack the minority – a policy that demonstrably fails not only in Nairobi and Mombasa but from Paris to Madaguri, Kabul to San Bernadino.