Afzal Khan, Labour MEP, one of the most influential British-Asian politicians, said growing Islamophobia in Europe is playing into the hands of ISIS and other extremist groups who radicalise Muslims
Afzal Khan, Labour MEP and the S&D groups special representative to Muslim communities, was speaking during a session he chaired as part of The European Parliament´s capstone de-radicalisation of Muslims conference.
During his remarks Mr Khan emphasised that radicalisation was a challenge for everyone and not just a ‘Muslim’ problem.
He argued that the only way to defeat radicalisation was for all of society to unite behind actions to break the vicious cycle between islamophobia and radicalisation, which is feeding groups like the so called Islamic State.
Speaking at the opening of the “way forward” session of the conference, Afzal Khan MEP said: “The challenge of radicalization is an issue that affects us all. And as such, it requires a common response and common solution. This has never been just about Muslims. It is about the whole of our European society, and includes our fellow citizens, Muslims and non-Muslim.”
“The prevailing European narrative at the moment is that of Muslims as outsiders, of Muslims as different. Growing Islamophobia in Europe plays into the hands of ISIS and other extremist groups who radicalize Muslims. As ISIS grows, so does the far right, each using fear and terror to advance their agendas. We must stop this vicious cycle.”
The European Parliament´s capstone de-radicalization of Muslims conference, was hosted by Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament and Antonio Tajani, the Parliament´s Vice-President in charge for religious dialogue.
The conference focused on the challenge European Muslims face fighting radicalization, and presented several successful projects and initiatives from EU Member States. The conference brought together a large number of European officials, policy makers, civil society representatives and religious leaders.
Hanif Qadir, founder of the London-based Active Change Foundation, working at the forefront of confronting and preventing violent extremism, who attended the conference at Mr. Khan´s invitation said: “We need to invest in our young people. Because if we do not invest in them, there are others out there who are clearly interested in doing so.”
“There is clearly an appetite for revolution and our young people want to join a revolution. Let´s get them to join a revolution that we have created for good!”
“We only have a chance at defeating this malice if Europe works together, sharing best practices and benefitting from EU funding and political support.”