Developing Youth Tolerance By Means Of Culture And Ways To Counter Extremism

Abstract

Developing modern youth’s tolerant consciousness in a multinational and multi-religious society basing on values of ethnic culture is an important research task, which is getting more urgent in the context of modern globalization processes, characterized by fighting for separation of spheres of influence and possession of natural and human resources. In this situation in different societies there are asocial phenomena among which acts of extremism and terrorism that pose a threat to people and societies. To counteract and implement successful prevention of the phenomena, it seems vital to mobilize efforts of society, authorities, and the clergy for developing in young people the culture of tolerance that has a potential to counter social deviations and extremism. Ethnic culture is a special way of orientation of the individual and an ethnos in the world, embodied into a national language, customs, traditions, religions, education of children, folklore, a mental composition of an ethnos, and its consciousness. In the structure of ethnic culture it is possible to determine such components which can be used effectively for preventing asocial phenomena among young people, aiming at active counteraction to various forms of radicalism and extremism. To realize such work, the resource of ethnic culture is quite largescale, and it is necessary to pinpoint in its structure such key components as religious beliefs, customs, traditions, and moral values, the contents of which can be applied successfully to overcome violence, harmonize public relations, and develop humanistic and universal values..

Keywords: Consciousnesstoleranceextremismspiritual cultureIslamintegrity

Introduction

The western project of globalization is nowadays being questioned as noticeable disappointment with the western model of living, market economy, and political democracy takes place (Gadzhiyev, 2017). The American thinker P. J. Buchanan, describing the state of the American society, writes that “the statistics of abortions, divorces, a fall of the birth rate, single parent families, teenage suicides, criminalization of schools, drug addiction, pedophilia, domestic violence, serious crimes, cancer cases, extramarital relationships, and a decline in the level of education shows how deep the crisis in the society struck with the cultural revolution is” (Buchanan, 2003). It reveals erosion of traditional values and the American identity as a result of globalization and the spread of mass culture. The depicted social situation in the American society with certain differences demonstrates itself in European countries too. It certainly concerns the youth, makes them aggressive, and generates violence, giving a rise to extremism. A vital problem of the state and society will be to eradicate such a civilization disaster touching not only the western youth.

According to experts, the total number of the youth on the planet nowadays reaches 1.7 billion people. As a passer of new views and ideas, possessing a powerful mobilization resource, they make a direct impact on development of modern states. None of them can develop without effective participation of young people. The values, views, and skills acquired by the present generations are forming the present and the future of the world.

The scientific and practical importance of the problem of youth education and socialization on the basis of tolerance laid in ethnic culture has increased because the youth more and more often become an easy target of destructive forces in society. Teenagers fall under the influence of criminals easier. The youth, with their inherent maximalism, quite often commit aggressive actions. Hooliganism and other asocial ”deeds” of teenagers are quite often a fertile ground for orientation to extremist activities. This phenomenon had extrapolated so much that there appeared the term “youth extremism” as one of the forms of modern extremism.

In this regard, it is crucial to educate the youth in multinational and polyconfessional Russia so that it would preserve and multiply all that has been created by work of many generations. This problem is successfully being solved on the basis of developing tolerant attitudes to various cultural and secular values of the people of Russia in the younger generation.

As a result of globalization, ethnic cultures plunge into the communication space where modern scientific and technical and information technologies influence the most powerful migration processes which have captured the modern world and, first of all, Europe (Mironov & Mironova, 2017).

Problem Statement

As a result of life of this or that ethnos, its culture is significant for its sociocultural development. Ethnic culture is a special way of orientation of an ethnic community in the natural and social world, when its representative expresses his/her identity in certain ways: “I am German”, “I am Russian”, or “I am Chechen”. Different components of ethnic culture possess a different degree of stability and the corresponding potential for development. The tolerance potential as a source of morality, humanity, neighborliness, and peacefulness embodied in them is stable too.

The Russian analog of a Latin word “tolerance” is “patience”, into the Chechen language it is translated as sobar. Its content predetermines the world outlook and the moral mental set of the personality aiming at understanding and a dialogue with representatives of other ethnicities, faiths, and cultures, recognizing and respecting their rights to have their own vision of the world. At the same time, it is necessary to consider that tolerance is a key moral principle of a civil society. It is important to realize also that absolute tolerance leads to tyranny and violence. Therefore, it should not be transformed into connivance of evil and infringement of freedom and moral dignity of a person. It seems that possibilities of an ethnic culture, including religious values, can be used for developing tolerance and consent in society and active counteraction to manifestations of various forms of extremism among young people.

Research Questions

In modern conditions of globalization, the problem of consent and cooperation of people of different ethnicities and nations which represent diverse cultures and communications is coming to the fore. N. A. Orekhovskaya considers “it is possible to overcome challenges of globalization through education of the new generation capable of cooperating, based on universal values” (Orekhovskaya, 2018). At the same time, it is vital to raise tolerance, overcoming the contradictions existing at the ethnocultural level that arise because of ignorance of the world in which we live and the cultures which fill it. It involves adding and enriching values in cross-cultural interaction rooted in interest in other cultures and understanding the value of cultural diversity of the world (Melikov & Gezalov, 2015).

The alarming feelings in the face of challenges of globalization led to adopting the Declaration of Principles of Tolerance on November 16, 1995 at the UNESCO General Conference (UNESCO, 1995). The declaration urged states to do their best for asserting ideals of tolerance in societies, “developing and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, language, national identity, religion or health …”.

This Declaration got support in Russia, and on August 25, 2001 the Government and the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted a federal targeted program “On Developing Tolerant Consciousness and Preventing Extremism in the Russian Society (2001-2005)”. As a major state decision, it has played a great role in stabilizing the Russian society where such negative asocial tendencies as nationalism, religious fanaticism, and terrorism showed themselves prominently. Its practical realization helped to decrease socio-political tensions in the country that took the form of phobias of the Caucasus and migrants.

The Russian Federation is a multinational, polycultural, and polyconfessional country. Throughout its century-old history, its citizens, representatives of more than 180 nationalities, kept its integrity, stability, and security. In front of the youth of Russia, representing all of its ethnicities, the problem of preserving and enhancing all the best and greatest that was created by work of many generations rises. In the Chechen Republic as one of subjects of the Russian Federation, in the 1990s social and economic, political, and religious contradictions, which reached their peak, became more aggravated. Here extremism was a web with its complex interlacing (ethnic, religious, and political). It was a place of implementing criminal and commercial plans of mafia gangs.

In the Chechen Republic, activities to counteract radicalism and extremism especially among the youth are being conducted. The measures for ensuring public safety undertaken by public authorities actually nullified crimes associated with extremism and terrorism, and now they also positively affect the scale of antisocial phenomena, including drug addiction and alcoholism. Studying the problems of counteracting extremism and terrorism and developing the system of measures for this Russian subject are serious research tasks. In this direction, focused effort to study the state, to correct antisocial phenomena, and to identify students’ attitude to extremism and terrorism is being made. These questions have become a subject of special consideration in the research laboratory “Counteraction to Extremism and Terrorism” created at the Department of Philosophy of GSOTU named after the academician M. D. Millionshchikov.

Moreover, the staff of this laboratory carries out activities for implementing the project called “Ethnocultural Resource as a Factor of Counteraction to Radical Islamism in the North Caucasus”. To study the nature of extremism and terrorism and students’ attitude to these illegal acts in the Chechen Republic a public opinion poll was conducted. Five hundred sophomores of Grozny State Oil Technical University named after the academician M. D. Millionshchikov, the Chechen State University, and the Chechen State Pedagogical University were interviewed.

The conducted survey allowed creating an overall picture of the students’ attitude to harmful influence of promoting extremism and other forms of radicalism. Students’ views on extremism and terrorism came to light, data on their attitude were obtained, and priorities which they chose as means to counter these asocial manifestations in society were defined.

The analysis of the opinion poll’s results received using the method of a selective poll showed that, in general, the youth of the Republic had a rather reasoned view of extremism and terrorism, they were competent to make assessments of their criminal nature and public danger. So, the question “what are the most characteristic features of extremism, in your opinion?” was answered by most respondents (66%) so: “they are violence or the threat of its application”. 10.5% of respondents indicated that they were “fanaticism and obsession with upholding one’s own principles”, and 25.5% named other factors. (Akayev & Keligov, 2018).

Sociological data gave an opportunity to reveal the students’ attitude to manifestations of extremism and terrorism. So, 82% of respondents consider that it is “a cruel and disgusting crime against the individual and humanity”, 5% - that it is “a natural way to fight for reaching one’s own goal”, and 13% – that “everything depends on the one who carries out this action and against whom”.

Pointing at the reasons for the growth of extremism and terrorism in the modern world, the students of the Republic placed great emphasis on the religious factor. So, the rise in social and economic contradictions was mentioned by 16.8% of respondents, that in political contradictions – by 36.6%, and other reasons – by 6%. Religious contradictions were named by 40.6%, the majority of respondents.

Apparently, the youth of the Republic considers that the main reason for the destructive phenomena in society is religious (interfaith) intolerance and contradictions caused by it. Therefore, the answers given were quite logical: “How can we resist extremism?”. So, 22.4% proposed “a ban on promotion of national and religious hatred and hostility”, 22.6% mentioned “a ban on establishing and work of public and religious associations inciting social, racial, national, and religious discord”, and most of the interviewed students noted that “profound knowledge of Islam and its humanistic essence is incompatible with extremism”.

At the same time, answering the question about ways of preventing extremism and terrorism, 56.6%, that is most respondents, supported “toughening the criminal accountability”, 23% of respondents supported “liberal ways (administrative punishment)”. At the same time 20.4% of respondents considered that “no ways of countering terrorism in the modern world are helpful”.

To elaborate a strategy and tactics of further work with the youth, their understanding of the reasons for the growth of extremism is important. Thus, a question “what promotes involvement of the youth in extremist organizations?” was answered so: 17.1% of respondents considered it was “a desire to get rich”, 10.2% said it was “a desire to become famous”, and 72.6% named “ideological beliefs”. Three out of four respondents thought that the fertile ground on which extremism spawned was gaps in the outlook, lack of interests, beliefs, and ideals capable of constraining uncontrolled aggression.

The obtained results of the poll demonstrated that the targeted work which had been carried out in the Republic to prevent extremism and terrorism and the adjusted system of developing tolerant consciousness in the youth were yielding positive results. Though most respondents did not face manifestations of extremism, they had quite a clear idea of its anti-human nature and the main reasons for its distribution among the youth and made well-considered observations about what the most effective counteraction methods were, in their opinion.

The empirical material collected during the poll allows drawing the following conclusions:

  • firstly, the Republic’s education, starting from the institutions of pre-university education, has collected and has effectively been using skills of solving the strategic task – to resist the penetration of views and standards of behavior contradicting the ethnic culture and universal values into consciousness of the Chechen youth;

  • secondly, an overwhelming part of students of the Republic has an active position in treating extremism and terrorism as anti-human and in bearing a heightened sense of responsibility for the future of the Chechen society as a component of the Russian society.

However, this, by no means, reduces the relevance of the problem both in the light of its scientific judgment and creation of the well-balanced strategy and tactics to counter any forms of asocial behavior of the youth.

Developing legal culture of the youth has become the main direction of this work. The legal culture of a personality is understood as a unity of legal knowledge, emotional attitude to legal phenomena, and lawful behavior. Resolving these key problems, first of all, rests on the knowledge of the rule of law and legal acts on the basis of which countering extremism and terrorism in the Russian Federation, the Chechen Republic, and in the world is carried out.

Extremism and terrorism are the worst of the evils of the present day and the most acute global challenges in the twenty first century. Their spreading and strengthening the level of the threat on the global scale resulted in making and developing the legislation to fight against their various manifestations. So, the Federal Law “On Countering Extremism” (July 10, 2002), the Federal Law “Countering Terrorism” (March 1, 2006) passed by the Federation Council, and the Chechen Republic’s President’s Decree “On Measures to Counter Terrorism in the Territory of the Chechen Republic” (April, 28, 2007) No. 170 were adopted.

It is necessary to recognize that the most important problem of developing legal culture is raising in the younger generation the feeling of respect for the rights and freedoms of other people, irrespective of their ethnic, religious and social origin, to their lives, health, and dignity.

To form a civic standpoint is an integral component of tolerant consciousness of the youth which must be developed during their active socialization. Proceeding from it, curators’, subject teachers’, and students’ getting acquainted with normative acts on countering extremism and terrorism in the country and the Republic is believed necessary. Certainly, such work will become effective only if, along with the knowledge of legal acts, the youth realize the necessity to counteract extremism and other asocial manifestations as a moral task. Therefore, much importance in the booklet is given to various forms and methods of educational work with students, that allow implementing the task not only to increase the level of legal culture but also to develop the youth’s ethical and moral responsibility for their actions to the public. In this regard, besides Russian federal normative legal acts to counter extremism and terrorism, normative legal acts of the Chechen Republic, comments, and instructional guidelines to studying federal laws, the booklet contains educational and methodical material how to organize education for students in specific ethnocultural conditions, rich in traditional relicts of lifestyle. The booklet contains theoretical material in which its authors disclose the nature of extremism and terrorism and generalize experience of fighting against these phenomena in the Russian Federation and the North Caucasus, including the Chechen Republic.

As the result, there arises an idea about expediency of introducing a special course into the educational process of higher education institutions of the Republic called “Developing Legal Culture and Civic Consciousness”, the purpose of which is to educate the youth to be law-abiding and unconditionally submissive to standards of the Russian legislation.

To raise legal culture is a nation-wide problem. At the same time, in the country in general and in its certain regions including the Chechen Republic, the resource of this work – propaganda and explanatory activities concerning administrative and criminal responsibility - has still been underestimated. Communication with students shows that the youth overall are informed about what extremism and terrorism are and about their public danger, but not familiar with administrative or legal bases of responsibility for such crimes. Therefore, one of the important directions in forming legal culture of the youth is explanatory work about administrative responsibility for participating in unauthorized public actions and disorderly conduct and criminal liability for committing crimes and offenses connected with extremism.

Extremism is a multifaceted phenomenon. One of its modern forms is obviously a false report on the act of terrorism. Its damage – material, moral, and psychological – had increased significantly, which resulted in adopting special articles Number 20 and 207 for Part II of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

This work has been carried out in higher education institutions of the Republic. So, the faculty of the Department of Philosophy of GSOTU, explaining amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, drew the students’ attention to the fact that false reports on acts of terrorism added to the rise in public danger, as the harm done by them was beyond damage which was caused by reporting other fake crimes. Besides, the object of this crime is quite wide because harm is done to both public safety, judicial bodies, normal functioning of state bodies, economic interests of organizations, enterprises, and institutions, and the rights and the interests of citizens. False reports on the act of terrorism paralyze normal work of institutions and distract law enforcement agencies and services, which are to assist in extreme situations (emergency medical service, fire brigades, and bomb squads).

Motives can vary. It can be revenge, self-interest, hooliganism, and nationalist motives. The aim to break public safety, to intimidate population, or to affect authorities’ decision-making can be pursued. Whatever the motives, this violation is equal to a threat of terrorism. But if a mistake or a delusion about the meaning of events take place, the degree of responsibility can be changed.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the research is to reveal how youth tolerant consciousness is developed by means of using moral and humanistic potential of values of ethnic culture, which can be used to counter extremist activities of young people

Research Methods

The following general research methods were applied: analysis, synthesis, comparison, generalization, and a system approach together with such sociological methods as observation, questioning, and documents’ analysis.

Findings

Raising the problem of legal education of the youth and developing their tolerant consciousness, it is necessary to consider that the major competitor for influencing the youth’s feeling and reason is various websites of the Internet and radical mass media, which quite often promote hatred, cruelty, humiliation of human dignity, and a protest against the established traditional forms of social regulation defining a standard of behavior. This virtual reality has a negative impact on educating the youth and hinders their successful socialization. Extremist organizations (including Islamic ones) use social and economic difficulties in society and gaps in education for recruiting more young people; they are apt psychologists when they try to meet the aspiration of the youth to self-determination, engage their energy and a desire to be demanded by society (Akayev & Nanayeva, 2017a; Akayev & Nanayeva, 2017b).

We hold that in countering extremism among young people it is necessary to use research data and theoretical judgment of the considered problem widely. It is believed that scientists have to develop a system of countering extremism and describe ways to raise tolerant consciousness of the youth. Modern society needs new ideas and concepts aimed at rapprochement of religions and cultures on the basis of common moral and humanistic values uniting believers, people, nations, and states. A scientific study of social and economic, legal, and psychological factors of the appearance of extremism in all its forms will give an opportunity to develop concrete effective measures to counter and prevent extremism

Conclusion

Harmonization of international relations in Russia and in the Caucasus, promoting interfaith and cross-cultural interaction among young people and assisting integration of cultures play an exclusive role in developing tolerant consciousness of the youth. In the conditions of commercialization of cultural riches in the modern world, the forum has undoubtedly played a positive role in building an international and interfaith dialogue of the youth of various nationalities and faiths. The attention of the participants of the forum concentrated on searching for mechanisms and tools for the youth self-realization. It promoted strengthening of international communication, propagating cultural values of tolerance, patriotism, and identifying the role of ethnic culture in countering extremism and terrorism. The forum facilitated the disclosure of spiritual potential of the youth, the search for opportunities and the elaboration of mechanisms and tools for their self-realization, and the development of an international and interfaith dialogue.

During the conference and the work of the sections of the forum, speakers discovered the anti-humanistic nature of extremism and terrorism. Active promotion of spiritual and moral values and traditions of the people of Russia was recognized as a powerful tool to counter the spread of extremism and terrorism: patriotism, toleration, a heightened sense of responsibility for the fate of future generations, century-old experience in overcoming vital difficulties through joint efforts, and tolerance and dialogue creating the eternal and ineradicable core of ethnic cultures.

In fact, maintaining ethnocultural and spiritual diversity in the world is the most important condition for preserving the moral and humanistic potential of the mankind capable to restrict the spread of radicalism in any of its manifestations resolutely.

In the North Caucasus including the Chechen Republic, the youth have always differed by their commitment to inherent values of the traditional ethnic culture, with the principles of patriotism and humanity underlain in them. Here such qualities as valor, selfless service to the homeland, constructive labor, devotion in friendship, respect for seniors and mothers, and care for the youngsters have always been highly appreciated. Here traditions of the Caucasian hospitality and friendship and brotherhood between all the people for whom the North Caucasus is a beloved native land and an integral part of great Russia have been passed on from generation to generation. Ethnic cultural riches have great potential of tolerance towards all people regardless their nationality, religion, a social and a property status, and other circumstances.

Recognizing that the main reason for deterioration of the situation in the modern world, along with the growth of social and economic, political, and religious contradictions, a loss of ethnocultural values and cultural identity continues to be critical. In the Chechen Republic real steps to increase political influence of traditional institutes, to preserve them, and to familiarize the youth with them are being taken. Here a revival of the traditional Islamic values that allow reaching intra ethnic, intra confessional, and interfaith consent and countering religious radicalism plays an important role in the Chechen society. These problems were reviewed in detail in our papers published in foreign and Russian journals (Akayev & Nanayeva, 2017a; Gaziyev, 2017).

It was S. Huntington who noticed that “in times of trouble Muslims find their core identity and certainty in the religious community, that is in the identity determined by Islam rather than ethnic and territorial criteria” (Huntington, 2011).

Among concrete measures to develop tolerant consciousness as a factor of countering all forms of radicalism, there is deep and comprehensive mastering ethnic culture by the youth, building a positive attitude towards cultural differences of people, and forming skills of effective interaction with representatives of various cultures

Acknowledgments

Writing and publishing the article have become possible due to the state task of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation No. 35.93.2017/BCh.

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29 March 2019

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Future Academy

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society

Cite this article as:

Keligov, M., Nanayeva, B., & Akayev*, V. (2019). Developing Youth Tolerance By Means Of Culture And Ways To Counter Extremism. In & D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 69-77). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.03.02.8