How to prevent radicalisation among European Muslims
by Roni Alasor / Lorin Sarkisian
Brussels, 26 April 2016 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED) - Gathered at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels, European parliamentarians, experts and representatives of the Muslim community in Europe discussed the role of education, social integration and cooperation between the different parts of the society as winning methods against radicalisation in Europe.
Speaking ahead of the conference, the EP President Martin Schulz underlined: "Terrorism and radicalisation must be fought through prevention, monitoring, intelligence-gathering and updated rules and sanctions. But there is one tool which beats radicalisation before it even takes place: dialogue. We are increasingly witnessing the phenomenon not just of segregated societies, but of more and more segregated and alienated lives. Dialogue helps cure this sad reality"
The conference was opened by EP Vice-President Antonio Tajani who pointed out that “many victims of extremist violence and Islamic extremist terrorism are Muslims themselves: we must unite our forces and denounce all forms of violence claiming a religious justification”.
Tajani also insisted on the crucial importance of working in difficult neighbourhoods of big cities "where social discontent can be exploited by terrorist organisations who wish to proselytise. Many of these terrorists were born and grew up here in Europe. De-radicalisation is not about cutting roots but rather going back to those roots. Europe needs to build on inter-religious dialogue. We have to fight against preachers who preach hate."
French EPP member Tokia Saïfi, Vice-Chair Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries, pointed out the importance of the family environment: the first combat against radicalisation should be within the immediate family. "Mothers are often the first witnesses and the first impacted by radicalisation. They could serve at the forefront in combatting this phenomenon."
Malika Hamidi, director-general of the European Muslim Network, underlined as well the crucial role of women, family and work in prisons to combat radicalisation.
Iratxe García Pérez, chair of the EP women committee pointed out: "It is vital to use exactly the same tools as Islamic State in creating counter-arguments. The best weapon to use is exactly the same weapon that Da`esh uses to recruit young people: these tools are Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It is essential that security services use the same channels to try to convince hopeless young people not to give up their life in Europe to join IS."
Among the speakers in the conference were also Latifa IBN ZIATEN, Founder, Imad ibn Ziaten youth association for peace, Samira LAAKEL, Author of "Le bonheur est parti avec toi", Syed KAMALL MEP, President of the European Conservative and Reformist Group, Ed HUSAIN - Author of "The Islamist" and Senior Advisor to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Luc Van der TAELEN, Head of the Belgian Federal police department against radicalisation and terrorism, Member of the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network, Dr. Shamender TALWAR - The Unity of Faiths Foundation, Co-Founder, Afzal KHAN MEP, S&D Special Representative to Muslim communities and Frans TIMMERMANS, First EC Vice-President.