The Credible Voices Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey between 10th November 2014 to 13th November 2014, attended by religious scholars, women, academics, young people and representatives of all sections of Somali society. The purpose of this conference was to discuss the root causes of violent extremism and tribalism and identify ways of tackling these dangerous phenomena. In its deliberations and findings the conference has concluded, agreed upon, and strongly recommends the following communiqué:
- Violent religious ideology from groups such as Al-shabaab, ISIS and others, as well as their misguided interpretation of the texts, has no basis in Islam in practice or in spirit.
- We urge the different sections of Somali society, including religious leaders, parents, women groups, educational institutions, the media, artists and civil society to adopt a unified approach in tackling extremism.
- We urge and encourage Young people who have been religiously misguided to return to the faith and the community, and to accept such misguidance as delusional and counter-productive to their lives.
- Solutions need to be found to tackle the root causes and circumstances that give rise to recruitment of extremists.
- A planned framework and programs should be developed to rehabilitate and reintegrate those young people who have been forced to join violent extremist groups.
- Strong recognition has been given to the need for developing and strengthening a Somali military that will cater to the security needs of land and sea to reduce necessity of foreign troops.
- We urge and recommend (always) that the improvement of good governance, cultivation of capable leadership, and the application of justice form a strong component of the solution to combat violent extremism.
- The unintended consequence of the misguided ideology and interpretation of Islam has resulted in the harassment and intimidation of genuine religious people and we urge society, all relevant agencies and civic institutions to adopt proportionate approaches and responses to safeguard the religious freedoms and norms of citizens. And by targeting innocent Muslims will facilitate platform for Al-Shabab, ISIS and others to recruit young venerable people.
Tribalism is dangerous to the existence of Somali people, has been responsible for the instability of Somali people, and continues to be a hindrance the development of Somali people. Under this context, the following communiqué was agreed upon during the Credible Voices conference.
- We urge all educational institutions, media outlets, religious institutions, parents, artists, women groups, and civic organizations to make people aware of the dangers of tribalism.
- We all agreed that tribalism is not permissible in Islam and is counter-productive to governance and order.
- We call for the formation and implementation of real reconciliation processes between all Somalis to regain the confidence and enable the peaceful co-existence of the Somali people.
- We all urge for the end of hostilities that stem from Tribalism and for Somalis everywhere to refrain from all actions that exacerbate tribalism-based hostilities and instability.
- We call for all sectors of society to support initiatives tackling tribalism such as Anti-Tribalism Movement.