To stop youth from turning to violent radicalism, nations should ensure that social media did not promote hate speech, India has told the Security Council.
Participating in a Security Council debate on the “Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism ,” Deputy Permanent Representative Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi said religious fanaticism fueled the flames of violent extremism that consumed youth.
It was the responsibility of nations to counter terrorism, he said, stressing the role education in steering youth away from violent extremism. Education should promote tolerance, he said citing the example of Indian textbooks that reflected the nation’s rich diversity.
Symbolically, the session devoted to youth was presided over by 20-year-old Crown Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II of Jordan, who is the youngest person ever to lead a Council session.
“Swift measures should be taken to stop feeding the fires of terrorism with the blood of our youth, who are the primary target of recruitment, both voluntary and forced, by armies and extremist terrorist groups,” he said.
Young people had to be provided tools to address their generation through the communications technologies that were now being used to lure them to extremism, Abdullah said. This could enable them to form intellectual networks and alliances that could lead the youth’s public opinion to adopt values of coexistence, respect for diversity and rejection of violence.
“Over and over, we see young people bearing the brunt of violent extremism,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, recalling the girls from Chibok, Nigeria, who were abducted by Boko Haram a year ago and the recent attack on a college in Kenya.
At the same time, he said, “Youth represent promise, not peril.” Young people had idealism and creativity and there were countless youth groups that wanted to wage peace, not war, Ban said. Therefore, youth should be given an opportunity to participate in decision-making, he added.