EU to debate radical Muslim preachers

Europe should explore ways to ensure Muslim preachers grasp European values and work with the internet industry to help prevent people living in Europe from becoming terrorists, according to a draft EU report.

    The European Union is stepping up efforts to fight radicalisation

    The European Union is stepping up efforts to fight radicalisation after the 7 July attacks on London, when four young British Muslim bombers killed 52 people.

    An EU official said the draft report from the European Commission was intended to spur debate as well as make proposals for action. EU states are due to approve a strategy to tackle such issues in December.

    "There is a great determination to fight against the processes which poison our young," the official said.

    Lack of integration

    The draft, obtained by Reuters news agency on Friday, asked whether lack of integration by some Muslim preachers and religious teachers and their poor language skills helped breed radicalisation.

    It said EU states may need to get more involved in educating foreign preachers so they understand European values, respect them and speak local languages.

    "There is a great determination to fight against the processes which poison our young".

    EU official


    In the draft, the EU executive said some media spread radical propaganda and called for self-regulation or a code of conduct for radio, satellite television and the internet.

    It said the EU needed to discuss the role of the internet with the telecoms industry.

    Media regulators in Europe have already blocked a television channel run by the Lebanese Hizb Allah party because its broadcasts were deemed anti-Semitic and a possible threat to public order.

    The internet is widely seen as allowing groups to incite followers to commit terror acts, a crime under the EU's definition of terrorism.

    A BBC documentary this week made British headlines because it featured a London-based supporter of Osama bin Laden who runs a website depicting beheadings and suicide bombings in Iraq.


    The Commission said websites like the one owned by Muhammad al-Massari, who defended the insurgents in Iraq and their actions, encourage and motivate people to become terrorists.

    Perceived injustice

    The draft said universities and mosques were also among places where people came into contact with radical groups and propaganda aimed at recruiting them into terrorism.


    "The reasons for becoming involved in groups which use terrorism against others as a way of expressing their position often stem from combinations of perceived injustice or exclusion," said the draft policy paper.

    "On a more individual psychological level, not feeling accepted in society and the resulting unwillingness even to try to identify with the values of the society ... can also lead to feelings of alienation or low self-esteem."

    The draft stressed the number of people who tried to commit terrorist acts was small, adding: "It is important to keep in mind that it is always possible for an individual to renounce violent radicalisation."

    The draft will be finalised and discussed by the EU executive in September.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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