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Nextep Organization holds a dialogue session in Qamishli on the theme “The Concept of Minority and Majority”

(Qamishli, 3 November 2021) Within the framework of its activities that aims for development and peacebuilding, Nextep organization held a focused dialogue session in the city of Qamishli, entitled “The Concept of Minority and Majority, The Transition from Indissoluble Links to Political Pluralism” on via Google Meet application.

The session was attended by 12 people from different community groups, including politicians, civic activists, and independent figures. The attendees discussed the concept of minority and majority and the actors that contributed to strengthening the discriminatory connotation of this concept, they also discussed the best ways to reach a formula that would command all Syrians’ consensus.

A group of the attendees considered that those concepts express a normal state of the region’s historical trajectory which differs from the foreign countries. Another group, attributed it to an Islamic background that emerged in the first decades of the last century, in which conflicts between minorities began, while some others saw that the outbreak of the Syrian war which resulted in weakening the centralized State, was a reason for this concept to emerge and spread, as well as the weak national identity among Syrians as a result of different political regimes practices, which created discrimination among community groups, and contributed to the emergence of sub-identities.

Regarding the parties that contributed in strengthening the racist side of minority and majority concept, and created sensitivity among Syrians, some saw that what led to that are the absence of a single entity of the state, the inertia of the region’s components, and the fragile societal structure, While the reason, according to some other of the participants, is that the political system and the ruling elite have negatively exploit the intellectual, political and social diversity situation in the region, and transform it into conflict. Other group considered that radical religious speech, family education, curriculums and distinct laws created divergence among the community, which weakened its structure and highlighted the concept of regionalism, others saw the economic crisis was a reason for reinforcing the concept of minority and majority.

The attendees discussed possible solutions, including strengthening the concept of citizenship, separation of religion and State (civilian state), changing the religious speech, promoting the values ​​of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance of the other, strengthening the Syrian national affiliation free from all forms of extremist nationalism and sectarianism, giving priority to the Syrian interest over the national interest, striving for a pluralistic democratic society and consolidating the culture of civil society. They also discussed the importance of seeing the concept of minorities as a natural cultural diversity, taking pride in cultural identity within the framework of a state of citizenship and institutions, striving for sustainable economic development, and changing laws and constitutions that discriminate between Syrians.

The session concluded with a set of recommendations, which called for intensifying the dialogue sessions and render them more specialized and involving wider segments of Syrians in them because, according to the participants, they have such positive effects in bringing points of view and visions closer.