On January 29, 2020, a meeting of National advisory working group on countering extremism has been held at the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KAZISS), organized within the framework of cooperation with the Search for Common Ground.
The discussion topic was the correlation of secularism and religiosity in Kazakhstani society and the corresponding changes in the identity of Kazakhstanis, as well as a combination of civic and religious values in policies to prevent violent extremism and terrorism. The meeting was attended by representatives of government bodies, law enforcement agencies, research organizations, academic community and non-governmental sector.
Keneshbek Sainazarov, director of the Central Asian office of Search for Common Ground, and Asel Nazarbetova, head of the Department of International Studies of the KazISS, addressed the audience with welcoming words. Senior Research Fellow at the Department of International Studies Anastassiya Reshetnyak moderated the meeting.
Taissiya Marmontova, a professor at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, presented the results of the study “From Secular to Religious: Dynamics of Behavioral Patterns and the Evolution of Identity”, the purpose of which was to analyze the behavior patterns of the population of Kazakhstan and to assess how the religious factor affects the formation of identity.
Yulia Shapoval, a professor of the Department of Religious Studies at L. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, dwelt in detail on the issue of definitions, in particular on the differences between secularity and secularism, and also shared some conclusions and forecasts basing on the results of her rehabilitation work with citizens who returned to Kazakhstan during the «Zhusan» operations.