EU Leaders Set to Combat Calls for Jihad

Written by | Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Over the past two and a half years of the Syrian civil war, an increasing number of European Muslims have left to fight on the side of the rebels against the oppressive Assad regime. Many of these individuals may have also been persuaded to make this move after coming across and watching one of thousands of videos that are available on the internet calling on people to take part in jihad or a holy war. European leaders now seem to have started to pay more attention to this issue, as they are trying to find out what makes the call for jihad so attractive and how their appeal could be weakened. “We have young people looking for exciting adventures. It is a little sad to say but they must have exhausted the joys of virtual games on the internet and think they’ll find the same excitement by making war,” explains Gilles de Kerckove, the man who coordinates Europe’s counter-terrorism unit.
A recent conference in Brussels also looked into ways how to improve communication by sending counter-messages that would be designed to appeal to families and communities to find peaceful solutions. As Bernanrd Cazeneuve, France’s Interior Minister, stressed, the EU’s objective should be to “use all possible legal means to identify and monitor all aspects of jihad activities. Jordan, Morocco and Turkey were among several non-EU countries invited to participate in this conference, which is widely seen as a recognition that the problem of “calls to join jihad” does not affect only European member states.
Although their precise number and origin are unknown, Western governments are advised to pay a close attention to this problem, because these foreign fighters may then potentially turn their eyes to, and vent their ‘anger’ and ‘frustration’, in their home countries in the West. While European governments are trying to assess the scale of potential threat these fighters could pose to their countries’ internal security, researchers are trying to come up with at least rough estimate of how many Muslim radicals could have left Europe in order to join the conflict in Syria.

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