LONDON, September 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Debate in European Parliament on the rise of religious extremism and its impact on Europe
As the world marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a leading Muslim group is taking the issue of the rise of religious extremism to the European Parliament with a stark warning that current measures are insufficient.
The debate on September 20 entitled 'Murder in the Name of God' focuses on the ideology that is feeding religious extremism and violence overseas as well as breeding intolerance and extremism in Europe. The attacks on Western targets are only the tip of the iceberg but have been the focus of the bulk of counter terror measures over the past 10 years.
The underlying issue of religious extremism is impacting upon the lives of millions of minorities - including Muslims and Christians - whose plight is often dismissed as 'sectarian', or worse still as 'domestic' and sometimes rarely even makes the national, let alone international, headlines.
Rafiq Hayat, National President Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said:
"Religious fundamentalism is a global problem - but its origins are local and manifested by the targeting of minorities. These fundamentalists are on a journey. They flex their muscles by targeting mosques of say Ahmadi Muslims or Shia Muslims, or a temple, synagogue or church. By and large these are ignored on the world stage. Emboldened by their action and the lack of effective authority against them, the fundamentalists set their sights on other targets.
"We have witnessed the growth of this cancer of terror by the targeting of our community- from small scale boycotts to gun and grenade attacks on our mosques in Pakistan, and in mob violence in Indonesia.
"It is a folly for the West to think terrorists will stop at simply targeting one community- this is only the thin end of the wedge. The ideology is already spreading to Europe via the internet and satellite and more needs to be done to put an end to this hatred that breeds extremism.
"We are calling of parliamentarians to assess human rights abuses and attacks on minorities as part and parcel of a global terror problem. It does not take a leap of faith to imagine a killer in Pakistan can also be a killer in Paris. It is only a matter of geography and time.
"Only this month in Faisalabad, a 55 year old Ahmadi Muslim man was shot dead after leaflets were distributed in the city with a hit list of Ahmadi Muslims and the promise of a place in heaven by killing those listed. One must ask why this has not caused international outrage - it is exactly this mentality that provided the breeding ground for 9/11."
Dr Charles Tannock MEP said:
"The ideology that has spawned violent extremism and reactive violent extremism has its roots in a distorted interpretation of religion - be it Islam, Christianity or any other faith.
"Sometimes the links made with religion are direct and overt, in other cases they are subtle and more obscure, but in all cases they are used to project a moral sense of purpose for what is simply cold blooded murder in the name of God.
"International experience and the recent tragic events in Norway have shown that religious ideology is usurped by extremists for their own purposes and Europe is no exception. The question is whether enough being done to check its growth and to neutralise its root causes."
Sofia Lemmetyinen, Christian Solidarity Worldwide said:
"Religiously motivated violence or extremism is a global and transnational challenge, threatening principles of pluralism, fundamental freedoms and the rights of minorities. States have a responsibility to address extremism by bringing perpetrators to justice, by compensating victims of such violence and by supporting initiatives for meaningful communal dialogue. We need long-term commitment at both national and international levels, and a willingness to understand underlying root causes and sociopolitical and economic grievances that potentially nurture extremist mindsets."
The debate is hosted by Dr Charles Tannock MEP and the UK All Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Dr Charles Tannock MEP, Member of Human Rights Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Vice-President of the EP delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Dr John Bew, Co-Director, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation
Shehrbano Taseer, Journalist and daughter of the late Salmaan Taseer the Governor of Punjab (Pakistan) who was assassinated by religious extremists
Sofia Lemmetyinen, EU Liaison Officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide
NOTES TO NEWSDESK:
Media invited. Please contact
Basharat Nazir email@example.com Tel +44 7703 483 384
Mahmood Rafiq Tel +44 7971 060 962
SOURCE Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK