11 January 2022

As part of its lecture paper series, TRENDS Research and Advisory published its first study, titled Educational Solution and Protection of Youth from Extremism”, written by Dr. Anas Al-Tariqi, Assistant Professor of Modern Civilization at Tunis University.

The study describes extremism as a logic of thinking that does not accept compromises in its definitions of right and wrong, and points out that the task entrusted to an educational institution is to educate young people and teach them flexible thinking, instilling in them a constant willingness to change their attitudes in the face of changing circumstances.

The study argues that this willingness can only be achieved when individuals accept that truth is relative and subjective, and constantly adapt to their environment and modify their thoughts and behavior based on their daily life experiences.

The study tries to present the concept of humility as a mindset and new necessity for a logic of thinking that best protects young people against extremism. It explains that the task of instilling this concept in the minds of young people is entrusted to educational institutions, which should inculcate into their minds the belief that knowledge is the acquisition of life skills, and that the journey of learning does not end for as long as they live. Humility is the understanding that one knows very little and that there is much to learn, hence they should not be under the illusion that they possess all truth and knowledge.

The study states that the prerequisites for a sound life consist of the ability to adapt, solve everyday problems, make compromises to ensure collective coexistence, make education the primary source for acquiring knowledge, whether scientific, religious or moral, while taking into account the goals of discipline, socialization and upbringing.

It explains that education is the only effective means of protecting young people from extremism. Although security methods can deter extremism, they cannot prevent young people from accessing websites and social media platforms and browsing the toxic content spewed by extremist groups.

The study concludes that young people have to be constantly open to what they can learn at any moment in time, as that is the only way they can protect themselves from extremism.