Jakupi, R. & Kraja, G.-2018
By focusing on the legacy of two distinct communities in the last six years since the appearance of violent extremism in Kosovo and the trajectory of their conduct over this period, this study seeks to shed light on the central role that formal and informal structures embedded in the communities have in preventing and countering radicalisation and violent extremism. This shift in scope dilutes some of the previously held notions that weak education and lack of economic development are key determinants for the appearance of violent extremism. The report also undertakes preliminary research on the role, if any, that political extremism plays in fuelling religiously based violent extremism by studying the dynamics in a third, ethnically diverse municipality affected by violent extremism. Overall, the report looks at the role that mayors, religious leaders, civil society organisations, political representation, community ties and national narratives play in creating counter-narratives, and how various community stakeholders understand and conduct their responsibilities. These dynamics in Kosovo reveal that the prevention of violent extremism was not merely accidental and not always curbed due to the diligence of law enforcement authorities or their reaction, but dependent on the social cohesion of the community, the relationship between various formal and informal structures and their determination to preserve their monopoly of power. The study finds that resilience amounts to aggregated action by local actors to act against violent extremism, while it defines vulnerability as a community’s reluctance or lack of mobilisation to intervene or engage pro-actively in addressing violent extremism. It puts forth the argument that the trajectories and experiences that these communities will ultimately have with radicalisation will be profoundly shaped by restoring agency to leaders and community influencers who currently lack mechanisms or incentives to react in the face of such challenges.