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Internationale Gemeinschaft aufgefordert, mehr zu tun, um Ideologie des islamischen Extremismus zu bekämpfen

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Radikal-IslamIslamic extremism and the ideology that drives it is corrosive to the fabric of democracy and threatens to “spread through the generations” unless effective and urgent preventive measures are taken.

Dies war eine der Schlüsselbotschaften eines hochkarätigen Briefings in Brüssel zur Radikalisierung.

Das Briefing wurde von der Europäischen Stiftung für Demokratie in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Institut für Frieden und mit Unterstützung des Projekts zur Bekämpfung des Extremismus und der US-Mission in der EU organisiert.

It heard that effective prevention policies would be needed to help dissuade often impressionable young Muslim men and women from falling into the clutches of extremists such as ISIL, the so-called “death cult” responsible for the recent Paris atrocity and downing of a Russian civilian aircraft.

An der zweistündigen Debatte am Dienstag (1. Dezember) nahmen Redner von beiden Seiten des Atlantiks teil: Zainab Al-Suwaij, Direktor des American Islamic Congress, und Karin Heremans, Co-Vorsitzende der Bildungsarbeitsgruppe des Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN).

Alexander Ritzmann von der Europäischen Stiftung für Demokratie, einem führenden in Brüssel ansässigen politischen Institut, eröffnete die Veranstaltung und sagte, eines der Ziele sei es, den Austausch bewährter Verfahren zur Bekämpfung von gewalttätigem Extremismus zu erörtern.

Al-Suwaij, whose organization was launched in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, said the results of Islamic extremism were now “haunting” both the Islamic world and the West almost on a “daily basis” and explained how US radicalization programmes had sought to tackle the issue.

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Ihre Organisation habe über einen Zeitraum von sieben Jahren Sensibilisierungsprogramme für rund 12,000 Menschen an 75 Hochschulen in ganz Amerika durchgeführt, um zu verhindern, dass junge Menschen radikalisiert werden.

She said her experience suggested it was important to monitor carefully the activities of extremist preachers at mosques and Islamic schools in order to prevent some of them spreading “messages of hate.”

Al-Suwaij führte ein Beispiel an, in dem sie dem FBI die extremistischen Lehren eines Imans in einer Moschee in den USA gemeldet hatte, was zur Deportation dieser Person geführt hatte.

In offering a counter narrative to such people it was important, she argued, to “mobilize” communities and also make full use of social media which, she pointed out, has become a crucial recruitment tool for Islamic extremists.

Developing effective “social programmes” for those young Muslims who return to their homelands in Europe and the U.S from Syria and such places was also necessary.

Society also had to “make a clear distinction” between “Islam, the religion” and “political Islam or Islamism” adding, “Most of the problems we are facing today are caused by political Islam and unless good prevention measures are put in place Islamic extremism is corrosive to democracy that will spread through the generations.”

She told the meeting: “We in the US are much more aware of these problems nowadays but the violent messages of hate some of these people spread is sometimes beyond comprehension. Preventing young people becoming radicalised is a big problem but that is the challenge we face.

“We have to get the message across that the threat is not only to the West but to Islamic communities which are losing their young to groups like Islamic State.”

Some examples of best practice in Europe were outlined by Heremans, whose RAN working group was just established and also includes a “Centre of Excellence” which allows grassroots activists to share information and experience on tackling radicalization more easily.

An informal “manifesto” had been devised for dissemination to dozens of schools, training programmes for educators, as well as training for front line professionals at local, provincial, federal and EU levels – to address this burgeoning threat in schools. It encourages teachers to develop a “vision” on radicalization and openly hold potentially “difficult conversations” on the issue. We are faced with a generational challenge, she said.

She said: “We are saying to schools, ‘dare to communicate’ this issue and develop policies in much the same way as was done in the past for issues such as drug abuse and health and safety.”

Heremans, who is also principal of the Royal Atheneum School in Antwerp, readily accepts that this is not always easy, citing the example of when she tried to organise a minute’s silence at her school for victims of 9/11.

The school has students from 60 countries, including conflict zones such as Iraq and Syria, and she said that managing “tensions” within the school could be difficult.

“What we did after the Paris attacks on 13 November,” she explained, “was to extend the minute’s silence so that it was a tribute to all victims of extremism, not just those killed in Paris. The aim was not to avoid confrontation but, rather, to connect with all our students.”

She also noted that it was necessary to give young Muslims a “sense of belonging,” adding: “We conducted a survey at our school in which we tried to establish who felt they had the strongest identity. We found that it was the Muslim students whose identity was the strongest. The problem is that this is what can make some of them so susceptible to radicalisation. We have to find ways of making them feel a better sense of belonging to their own local communities.”

Heremans argumentiert auch, dass es bei der Erörterung der Radikalisierung wichtig ist, die wachsende Bedrohung durch rechtsextreme Gruppen anzuerkennen, nicht zuletzt in europäischen Ländern wie Ungarn und Griechenland sowie den islamischen Extremismus.

Das Treffen hörte von EXIT-Germany, einer Initiative, die Menschen hilft, die die rechtsextreme Bewegung verlassen und ein neues Leben beginnen wollen.

Das vom ehemaligen Neonazi-Führer Ingo Hasselbach mitbegründete Projekt arbeitet seit 2000 daran, Schulabbrecher aus extremen und gewalttätigen rechten Umgebungen zu unterstützen.

Ritzmann pointed out that since 2011 EXIT-Germany had also become engaged in tackling Islamic extremism which, he believes, shares  “some similarities” with right-wing extremism.

In a question and answer session, one audience member said it was crucial to tackle the sources of why people are radicalized rather than just the “symptoms.” After atrocities such as Paris, the “temptation”, is to offer a “crisis response” but a better approach would be finding and implementing longer-term solutions.

Als Antwort auf eine Frage zum Islamismus, der Ideologie, die den islamistischen Extremismus antreibt, betonte Al-Suwaij, dass sich die Ideologie der Muslimbruderschaft nicht von der der ultra-konservativen wahhabistischen und salafistischen Doktrinen unterscheidet, die zunehmend als Hauptursachen für gewalttätige Radikalisierung anerkannt werden. Die MB-Ideologie sei identisch mit dem Wahhabismus und dem Salafismus, und der politische Islam / Islamismus sei die Grundlage aller Probleme, die Gesellschaften mit Extremismus haben, sagte sie. Der politische Islam wirkt sich ätzend auf das demokratische Gefüge aus, das sich über Generationen hinweg in der Gesellschaft ausbreiten wird “, fügte sie hinzu, und seine Konfrontation ist entscheidend für die Bekämpfung von Radikalisierung und gewalttätigem Extremismus.

One audience member provided an example of good practice related to Spain the country that has seen the worst terrorist attack since WW2 – the Madrid train bombing in 2004 which killed 198 people.

Trotz des enormen Anstiegs der Zahl der Marokkaner in ihrem Land, der in den letzten Jahren von 75,000 auf 900,000 gestiegen ist, hatte Spanien diese größte ethnische Gruppe erfolgreich in die Mainstream-Gesellschaft integriert.

Concluding, Ritzmann said the “very timely” debate had given rise to several excellent ideas, including the role education can play in explaining the phenomenon of Islamic radicalization.

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