EU calls for closer European cooperation with Islamic world to tackle extremism

Brussels The European Union has called for closer cooperation between Europe and the Muslim world to deal with the problems of radicalization and extremism globally.

“Today’s roundtable is an opportunity to consider our approach to tackling radicalization and polarization in society and reflect on the role of religion, specifically Islam,” EU Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said in his keynote speech on a forum on Europe and the Muslim world which concluded in the European Parliament on Tuesday.

“In this debate, it is important to highlight the positive role that religion and religious leaders can play, not only in more targeted prevention work but also in addressing the broader societal challenges,” he said.

King continued that “to tackle this extremism, we need to work together within Europe but also within our neighborhood � focusing on programs to encourage cooperation and education.”

“Whether driven by religious, ethnic or nationalist ideologies, extremists have one thing in common: Rejection of our shared values,” he stressed.

On his part, co-Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group British MEP Dr. Syed Kamall said there is no inherent contradiction between Islam and democracy. He pointed out that democratic elections and peaceful transfers of power had taken place in Muslim-majority countries including Algeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Pakistan, Tunisia and Morocco.

The forum, hosted by Dr Kamall, brought together politicians, academics and community leaders from across the Muslim world to discuss issues such as improving social integration, the role of education and religion in promoting democracy and the future relationship between Europe and Muslim democracies.

In his closing remarks, Kamall said he hopes that the event should be the starting point for an ongoing dialogue. “This is just the first initiative and I hope the Forum will become a gathering or network in its own right that is able to foster democracy in the Muslim world,” he added.

Source: International Islamic News Agency