EU tackling terrorism at home

30-Jan-2013 @ 15:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Tackling terrorism at the grass roots was the main agenda for a high level conference with EU officials, NGOs and Europe's home ministers yesterday. The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, hosted the meeting in Brussels and interior ministers from France, Spain, Norway, and Sweden highlighted the need to curb home grown extremism and terrorism.

One of the co-Chairs of the roundtable, Sajjad Karim MEP, spoke of his horrifying personal experiences of violent extremism. He told the audience:

"On the one hand I have faced the bullets of Islamist extremists in Mumbai, on the other hand in the United Kingdom I have had far right extremists target my home and my family."

Sajjad Karim, a British Conservative MEP for the North West of England, co-Chaired the discussion on how immigrant communities can prevent individuals from being lured towards extremist groups. He acknowledged that the British government was making some steps in addressing the problem, however he criticised the move in making ex-jihadist figures spokespeople for the whole Muslim community. He said:

"A large majority of Muslims do not go through the same radical journey as those who become Islamic extremists and threatened the very democracy of our society. I think we need to be wary of saying that these people are representatives of all Muslims."

In 2011 the European Commission set up the EU-wide Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) which provides support to people at the grassroots who are in direct contact with individuals or vulnerable groups who may become radicalised. The network facilitates the exchange of experiences and best practices on the issue.

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