Conference at the European Parliament on 26 April

European Muslims: radicalisation and de-radicalisation

European Muslims: radicalisation and de-radicalisation


  1. How should European Muslims deal with radicalisation and what role can women play in countering it and promoting de-radicalisation? These questions were discussed during a conference at the Parliament on 26 April. Following the opening of the conference by Vice-President Antonio Tajani at 15.00 CET, the phenomenon of radicalisation and how to counter it at national and EU level was assessed with experts and community leaders in attendance.

  2. Speaking ahead of the conference EP President Martin Schulz said: "Terrorism and radicalisation must be fought through prevention, monitoring, intelligence-gathering and updated rules and sanctions. There is one tool however which beats radicalisation before it even takes place.
    "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."
    Vice-President Antonio Tajani also highlighted the efforts of Muslims in Europe to end radicalisation: "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. I am convinced that Muslim communities in Europe and the world share this view. The goal of this conference is to give them a chance to show their opposition to radicalism and hatred."

    The conference was opened shortly after 15.15 CET by EP Vice-President Antonio Tajani.

    In his opening remarks, Tajani said it is important to conduct work in difficult neighbourhoods of large 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."

    "Being a Muslim is about belonging to a religion which asks followers to respect one another, to respect others. The ISIS criminals are hijacking the religion. [...] De-radicalisation will help stop the suffering of Muslim mothers."

    "Europe and its social values must build on inter-religious dialogue, on coexistence, living together, on common progress to see the flourishing of values. The key word is dialogue."

    "Whether we are Christians, Jews or Muslims we need to look in each other’s eyes. Unfortunately the ones who kill in the name of God do not look other men and women in the eyes."

    Tokia Saïfi, vice-chair of the delegation for relations with Maghreb countries.

    The first panel of the debate was opened by French EPP member Tokia Saïfi. She noted that "radicalisation is a complex phenomenon that can be difficult to understand from the outside." She added that "it is very important to take note of the role of women when it comes to de-radicalisation" and that "the first combat against radicalisation should be within the immediate family."

    European Muslims: radicalisation and de-radicalisation

        1. "Mothers are often the first witnesses and the first impacted by radicalisation. They could serve at the forefront in combatting this phenomenon."
        2. "Muslim women are finally being considered today as vital actors in the process of de-radicalisation. It is important to involve them as they are generally the first to notice signs of radicalisation." She added that "80-90% of young people leaving to Syria only found an interest in religion in the months immediately prior to their departure." She noted also the importance of working in prisons to combat radicalisation.
          "Women should be utilised fully to make their voice heard and combat extremist violence. [...] We must develop spaces for dialogue, in which Muslim women are involved in the development of a counter-argument. The challenge lies not only in the security aspects.
          1. Latifa Ibn Ziaten, founder of the Imad Ibn Ziaten Youth Association for Peace

          2. "Education plays an important role, it has been neglected. Parents are the mainstays. With children playing in the streets, it's important to be vigilant with them. [...] We need to give importance to children, they need to be listened to."


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