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“Youth against Extremism: Think for Yourself”

Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, Krusevac, Belgrade | November 2014


Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia organized four workshops in Novi Sad, Belgrade, Krusevac and Zrenjanin as part of the project “Youth against Extremism: Think for yourself”, supported by the Fund for an Open Society. More than 100 students of secondary schools in these four towns participated in workshops, organized in cooperation with school pedagogues and psychologists.

Each workshop consisted of two lectures. Sociologist Srdjan Barisic talked about the meaning of terms such as extremism, fundamentalism, exclusivism, monopolization of truth and literalism. He spoke about different forms of extreme interpretation of world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), pointing to the fact that each religious tradition has similar examples of its extremist forms. Barisic also talked about common characteristics of extreme right-wing ideologies and gave examples of several extremist groups in Serbia and in the world.

Psychologist Tamara Tomasevic and sociologist Andrej Kubicek talked about language of (non)violence and about ideas behind the symbols of extremist groups. Lecturers differentiated between prejudice and stereotypes and defined the meaning of flags and symbols.


Here are some statements of students:

„The most visible minorities in Serbia are Roma, persons with disabilities and LGBT persons “. (Zrenjanin)

„Extremists use violence and attack the right to equality which is guaranteed by law“. (Zrenjanin)

„I don’t agree with extremists but I think that they are right when they say that differences exist among different persons. “ (Zrenjanin)

„I think that Obraz, SNP 1389 and Srbska akcija are extremist organizations. “ (Belgrade)

„Groups that are considered extremist do everything to achieve their goals. “ (Belgrade)

„Countering extremism has to be systematic; an individual cannot do anything by himself. “ (Belgrade)

„Incidents occurred in Vojvodina after the soccer game of Serbia and Albania because many ethnic groups live there. “ (Novi Sad)

„Flags and symbols designate belonging to a certain group. Some church symbols can also be seen in other places. For example, a cross is a symbol of the ambulance and it is also a fashion detail. “ (Krusevac)


Project team also talked about the possibility to participate in a literary contest and the opportunity for three most successful essays to receive financial awards. These essays will also be published in daily newspapers, on the website of the Helsinki Committee and on social networks.














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