Peace activist and ICAN partner Mossarat Qadeem was interviewed on BBC Radio Woman’s Hour about her work de-radicalizing Pakistani youth by reaching out to the mothers of at-risk young men. Mossarat is the founder and Executive Director of the PAIMAN Alumni Trust, a nonprofit group promoting sociopolitical and economic empowerment of marginalized Pakistanis.
PAIMAN provides a counter-narrative to the extremist rhetoric, including through the use of the Qur’an, with the goal of both de-radicalization and prevention of this “wave of violent extremism.” Mossarat asserts that “mothers are instrumental in the transformation of their sons to become more productive citizens of Pakistan… they are the first ones who notice behavior and attitudinal change.” PAIMAN helps these mothers identify and understand this attitudinal transformation.
Once a mother is made aware of the issue of radicalization through PAIMAN outreach, she becomes empowered and tries herself to bring her sons, neighbors and other relatives back from the brink. But sometimes women themselves push their children to become radicalized. One of the reasons, Mossarat explains, is that the extremists “use the Qur’anic verses; and these women, since they never read the Qur’an with the translation or in its true context…. they are convinced that… jihad and everything that [the extremist] is talking about is allowed in Islam.” Mossarat stresses that the root causes of rising extremism in Pakistan among young boys are poverty, illiteracy, foreign intervention, power and money, not religion.
In order to achieve their goals, PAIMAN tries “to develop a public discourse on the impact of extremism on everybody’s life.” The organization now helps about 400 young men and boys to make the transition away from extremist ideologies.
Listen to the full 10-minute interview here.
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