Radicalisation ‘is issue for all of us’, says MEP Afzal Khan

Date published: 05 May 2016

Growing Islamophobia in Europe is playing into the hands of Isis and other extremist groups who radicalise Muslims, Rochdale MEP Afzal Khan has said.

Mr Khan was speaking during a session he chaired at the European Parliament’s European Muslims: radicalisation and de-radicalisation conference.

The Labour MEP said radicalisation was not just a “Muslim” problem.

He said the only way to defeat it was for society to unite behind actions to break the vicious cycle between Islamophobia and radicalisation, which was feeding groups like the so-called Islamic State.

Mr Khan said: “The challenge of radicalisation is an issue that affects us all. And as such, it requires a 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 radicalise 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 conference, attended by policy makers and religious leaders, focused on the challenge European Muslims face fighting radicalisation and presented several successful initiatives from EU states.

Hanif Qadir, of the London-based Active Change Foundation, 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.”

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