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PACE suggests ways to prevent radicalisation

PACE has urged Council of Europe states to fight radicalisation by putting an end to any foreign funding of Islam which is proved by objective criteria to be used for the purpose of “national political expansion into other States under the guise of Islam”.

However, in a resolution based on a report by Doris Fiala (Switzerland, ALDE), the Assembly said that a general ban on all foreign funding was “arguably unreasonable and not necessary in a democratic society”.

“Not all foreign funding of religion is a problem in itself,” the Assembly added. “On the contrary, it can help to foster inter-faith dialogue and more openness in religious worship.”
But the parliamentarians said states should reject attempts by foreign organisations to put in place “a parallel society”. Efforts should be focused on measures promoting transparency, they said.

All religions should be treated on an equal footing, and any measures taken should not place the Muslim community under a “general suspicion”, which could lead to Islamophobia. In general, the Assembly called on member States to “increase their efforts to combat Islamophobia”, which can itself be a breeding ground for radicalisation.

In a separate resolution on combating the radicalisation of migrants, the Assembly called for policies that promote education, social inclusion and highlight the benefits of diversity.

The resolution, based on a report by Sahiba Gafarova (Azerbaijan, EC), said it was important to “prevent alienation, lack of a sense of belonging, marginalisation and community isolationism from prevailing”, which could create a fertile breeding ground for radicalisation.

The Assembly also analysed the roles played by women, youth groups and diasporas in combating radicalisation, and set out steps to curb such ideas spreading via the media, the internet and in prisons.