The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Addressing ethnic challenges in Afghanistan, providing solutions

Part III

As discussed in other parts of the article, social harms arise as a result of a temporal process. Therefore, resolving or finding a solution to it is a lengthy process and requires the collective participation of all knowledgeable members of society. While the government plays a fundamental role in this process, it alone is not sufficient or necessary to curb this problem. Social institutions and religious scholars must take on this mission and consistently pursue it. The role of religious scholars in mitigating ethnic tensions It has been said from the past to the present that religious scholars are the guiding light of society, possessing a keener insight and a better understanding of societal issues than the general populace. This unique position of influence and understanding inspires hope for their potential to guide society toward a better future. In other words, whatever religious scholars perceive as wrong, society unconsciously perceives it as harmful. Whatever they perceive as good and virtuous, society perceives it as such in an utterly subconscious manner. Being the guiding light of society means that society has always turned to the words of scholars and religious scholars, like guiding lamps, guiding people and leading them along a path that they delineate. Therefore, using Islamic sources, religious scholars should change the Masjids, schools, and pulpits to combat this problem. They should rely on religious sources to inform people that tribalism and ethnic bias have been rejected in Islam and that severe punishment awaits those who engage in them in the hereafter. Religious scholars have a mission to guide people toward unity, brotherhood, and solidarity, emphasizing the urgency and necessity of this message in our current societal context. The more this issue is emphasized with religious justifications and warnings of eternal punishment, the more effective it will be. Prejudice, including ethnic, linguistic, racial biases, and tribalism, are phenomena firmly rejected by Islam, replaced instead by the concept of a unified nation. Religious scholars continue to play a fundamental role in mitigating ethnic tensions. Whenever tensions arise among ethnic groups, religious scholars should consider themselves obliged to take steps to mitigate them, as their presence in managing this crisis will be effective. They should identify commonalities and promote them to foster tolerance and reconciliation, regarding conflicts among Muslim brothers as ignorant disputes rooted in the pre-Islamic era of ignorance. The role of educational institutions in mitigating ethnic tensions Educational institutions can play a significant role in this process since they are tasked with the upbringing and character formation of future generations. Teaching materials should focus more on unity and brotherhood, emphasizing that no ethnic group is superior to another. The unfortunate history of Afghanistan, resulting from tribalism and ethnic bias, should be imparted to today’s generation to guide them towards a better path and gain a complete understanding in this regard. The Ministry of Higher Education should hold and regulate specific seminars and workshops so that, on the one hand, the younger generation is not involved in these biases and, on the other hand, students are taught skills for resolving tensions and advancing governance and mediation. These skills should be more focused on students residing in surrounding areas. They should be encouraged to take on leadership and responsibility alongside religious scholars as informed individuals in society, to lead and contribute to councils, and to collaborate with religious scholars in combating this issue, considering it their religious and moral conscience. Unfortunately, over the past two decades, with the influx of millions of dollars in international aid, not only have educational institutions not been directed towards this purpose, but we have witnessed our students and scholars being embroiled in and exacerbating these tensions on a daily basis. As a form of protest, educational institutions’ gates were often closed to benefit seekers. Now imagine, when an uninformed individual encounters such confrontations with both religious and contemporary knowledge, what decision will they make? The role of social institutions and media in mitigating ethnic tensions Social institutions, including media outlets, are impartial organs that work towards societal awakening in various aspects, such as social, scientific, religious, etc. Although this hasn’t always been the case, it should be the norm. Social institutions and national and local media should investigate social issues and create content based on them to guide society in the right direction. From the perspective of influencing public opinion, after Masjids and pulpits, these media outlets are the second most influential factor in guiding society, shaping public opinion significantly. Media outlets should regulate their publications in a way that eliminates wrong feelings of nationalism, tribalism, linguistic biases, and partisanship on the one hand and invites people to brotherhood and unity on the other hand. If this is not the case, the government is obligated to direct the media in this direction forcefully and not allow them to become instigators and agents of tensions, as was the case two decades ago when private media, especially those led by partisan and nationalist movements, shattered the backbone of the Afghan people. Each of the institutions above must recognize its responsibility and strive to fulfill it. If this problem escalates further and leads to more tensions among ethnic groups and tribes, it will gradually result in a national crisis and even civil war. Therefore, every individual living in Afghanistan must consider combating this problem as one of their fundamental duties. Firooz Ahmad Ebrahimi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.