Youth and extremism. START InSight took part in the Muslim World League’s international conference in Geneva

On the 18th and 19th of February 2020 the Muslim World League convened an International Conference at the UN headquarters in Geneva to discuss

“Initiatives for Protecting the Youth from Extremist and Violent Ideologies: Implementation Measures”

In the presence of the League’s Secretary General, His Excellency Mohammad bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, of numerous religious leaders, political representatives, experts and researchers, the Conference tackled the following subjects:

  1. Thoughts, Ideologies and Milieux leading to Extremism
  2. National Identity and its Role in Building Intellectual Security
  3. Europe’s Muslim Youth in Europe and the Threat of Extremism
  4. Religious and Cultural Pluralism, and the Culture of Tolerance

START InSight’s President, Chiara Sulmoni, featured in a panel focussed on Muslim youth in the West and the threat of extremism. In her intervention, she talked about the average ages of extremists resulting from profiles analysed by researchers in a series of European countries and also about time spans characterising the process of radicalisation in Europe; she then underlined the need for early prevention. Based on her field-research and interviews with practitioners in 5 different nations, she suggested a greater involvement of the private sector and the value of  ‘models’ as effective counter-narrative tools, while she also highlighted the dangers stemming from a ‘politicisation’ of the whole issue. In the end, after briefly explaining how prevention is organised in Switzerland according to the National Action Plan adopted in 2017, she concluded by stating that if we really consider citizenship as an antidote to parallel societies and extremism, we should collaborate more, trust and value European Muslims as part of the solution.

Among closing remarks, those of the Vice-President of Swiss Parliament, On. Isabelle Moret and Amb. Elan Carr, US envoy for the fight against anti-Semitism who conveyed President Trump’s greetings.

The Muslim World League’s Twitter account reports some more contents on the issues addressed by the many speakers.