Combatting Terrorism Starts in School: Saybrook Professor's research finds that devout and secular Muslim teanagers both want to live in a pluralistic world01/28/2015
After the tragic “Charlie Hebdo” shootings in France, people across the world are wondering whether societies can peacefully live with devoutly religious minorities in their midst.
Dr. Benina Gould has been studying just that question for the last several years, recently conducting studies of Internet use among teenagers at conservative Muslim schools in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world. Also surveyed were the attitudes towards religious diversity among high schoolers in America, Pakistan, and Germany.
Despite tragic cases of terrorism, the good news is the studies showed that the majority of Muslim students, even the most devout ones, want a pluralistic society. And, although there is no easy answer to combat terrorism, Dr. Gould strongly believes that increased education and awareness, and spreading these encouraging findings can make a difference. While horrific acts of violence can easily command our attention, the data clearly shows that they are not representative of an entirely population. That’s why her research, which examines the stereotype that 'madrassas' are the breeding grounds of fundamentalism, is of great significance.