Countering the Rise of Extremism in Europe
11 April 2016 – A report on Europe’s World publication on the topic of security, which featured an article by Dr. Azmayesh, on the topic of countering the rise of extremism in Europe.
The recent tragic events in Brussels were proof of the need to discuss the growing issue of extremism, and figure out a counter-strategy that works for European societies. Dr. Azmayesh points out that the problems caused by extremism, or extremist ideologies, have been around for centuries, and counter-terrorism policies should not be based on quick solutions, but rather focus on long-term policies.
European counter-extremism policies need to evolve from their current reactive state to a formalised structure. The first step in this process is to delve into the roots of the problem, which requires an examination of the issues at hand, its historical background, and how extremism often uses religion as a tool to cast a wider net of victims within society. This includes an analysis of issues of radicalisation, along with recognising how certain vulnerable groups of society are becoming targets to radicalisation by those with extremist agendas.
Dr. Azmayesh establishes that religious violence does not exist. What exists is violence that is being carried out in the false name of religion, in order to provide a medium for such ideologies to take root among people. He, therefore, insists on the recognition of the extremist mind-set and acts of violence, to be defined for what they truly are, i.e. they are acts of terror and organised crime.
By separating such issues from the pretext of religion that they are trying to hide behind, we are able to better address and tackle such social issues, as argued by the author. This educated analysis of the core issues of extremism, also helps us steer clear of the prejudicial or ignorant rhetoric that is often popularized in society, which leads to issues of hate-crime against certain communities, or Islamophobia.
Dr. Azmayesh urges everyone to not remain silent or show tolerance towards intolerant behaviour. He states that those who sponsor intolerance, see our silence as an opportunity to fill the airwaves with their own divisive rhetoric and often misuse the principles of democracy, such as freedom of speech, to undermine democracy itself. As a society, we must therefore act together, in a well-informed manner, to develop effective counter strategies. Dr. Azmayesh reiterates that there is need for transparency, knowledge about core issues, and an open-diaogue about these social issues among people from all sections of society, as such a unified action is indispensable.
Article Source : Europe’s World