Program to deter students from enlisting in extremist groups unveiled

A Pan African Christian organisation has unveiled a peacebuilding programme in universities, to deter students from enlisting with extremist groups.

The civil society organisation currently operating in 22 African countries has rolled out a youth campaign to promote interfaith tolerance among university students, to foster peaceful and harmonious co-existence at institutions of higher learning.

Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA), has already enlisted the help of students from more than twenty universities in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, to propagate an anti-radicalization campaign, following reports that violent extremist groups, targeted such institutions for recruitments.

PROCMURA team coordinator, Joy Wandabwa, told KNA during the closing ceremony of a three-day training session, for the students under the peace ambassadors programme, that the youth were more vulnerable to exploitation by political actors, including terror groups.

“We have forged a working relationship with the deans, to initiate peacebuilding clubs at universities, to inculcate a tolerance and responsible culture at the institution, that will have a trickle effect on the society at large,” she said.

Kenyatta University’s don Rev Dr John Bwire expressed fears that terror cells targeted students because they offered the needed youthful energy and easily enticed them to join the fold due to their frustrations and challenges in life.

He said the noble initiative was timely as the country was heading for polls when ethnic rhetoric and acrimony played out saying a series of inter universities activities were planned to spread the peace gospel.

“Opportunists target their recruitment at universities because they are the melting point of ideas and that’s why we need change agents, to keep such influence at bay,” Bwire said.

Notable speakers during the youth symposium held at the Young Christian Women Association in Nairobi included Bishop Stephen Kaluyu of Isiolo Interfaith Network and the Isiolo Chairman of the Council of Imams, Rtd. Col. Hassan Bonaya.

PROCMURA which was founded some 62 years ago under Christian values,   has been advocating for the mutual and harmonious co-existence of Africans from a different faith.

  

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