The Parliamentary Assembly has discussed at length the crisis in the Middle East, its attraction to foreign fighters and the exodus of refugees it has provoked. Defeating Daesh will require us to defeat its ideas and its promotion of the idea that Islam is under attack, that there is a clash of civilisations; that the “West” and Islam are “at war”, ant that it is the religious duty of Muslims to come to the defence of Islam by joining Daesh. We must stand united in exposing the truth and simultaneously defend the European Convention on Human Rights, including Article 9, which Daesh seeks to destroy.
The Council of Europe has taken a leadership role in countering terrorism, by drafting the Convention on the Prevention on Terrorism (2005), the Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (2015), and implementing an Action plan on “The fight against violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism” (2015), to strengthen the Council of Europe’s pan-European membership, strengthen its legal instruments, and improve its monitoring, advisory bodies and its practical tools.
Amongst the most important practical tools identified by the Committee of Ministers (Action Plan CM(2015)74, section 2.1.3) is the need to provide a counter-narrative to the misuse of religion. The need for this counter-narrative was underlined in the report “Foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq” (Doc. 13937) which called for action to spread counter narratives aimed at exposing extremist discourse.
Given the urgency and the significance of this requirement, the Assembly should evaluate the alternative narratives to extremism deployed across member States, evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches and make recommendations to ensure that every member State has at its disposition the most effective alternative narrative possible.