"Cooperation needed to fight terrorism"
24 September 2007, THE HAGUE – Cooperation between non-Muslims and non-extremist Muslims is the most effective way to fight terrorism in the long term. Statements from politicians like Geert Wilders only exacerbate tensions between groups.
24 September 2007
THE HAGUE – Cooperation between non-Muslims and non-extremist Muslims is the most effective way to fight terrorism in the long term. Statements from politicians like Geert Wilders only exacerbate tensions between groups.
That makes it more difficult to work together "across the borders of religion." Gijs de Vries, until this spring the anti-terrorism coordinator for the EU, said this on Monday in response to the discussion on the effects of the anti-Islamic tone in public debate.
He says that National Coordinator for Anti-terrorism Tjibbe Joustra is completely right to warn against "thinking in clichés and exacerbating oppositions."
Without reference to anyone in particular, Joustra said in Monday's AD that he feared the consequences of the tone that some have taken in the discussion on Muslims. Radical comments could push those on the verge of committing violence over the edge, Joustra said.
De Vries, who now works at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, says that people like Freedom party PVV faction leader Geert Wilders and former VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali lump all Muslims together. He says this is wrong because of the great differences among Muslims. It is also unwise because it sharpens oppositions, which damages anti-terrorism efforts for the long term.
De Vries (VVD) also values freedom of expression highly. "Every politician may say what he thinks. But it would be nice if Wilders were to think about what he says for once. It is essential to distinguish between those with good intentions and those with bad," he said.
The terrorism expert says that there are small, but dangerous, groups of extreme Muslims in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe that condone attacks. "These people should be tackled using every legal instrument available. But we must also work with non-extremist Muslims to prevent them from turning into a new generation of radicals. We must focus on what unifies us, not intensify what divides us."
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news