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With EYP – the European Youth Parliament

Masha from France:
I’d like to know if Muslim extremism is a real issue in Europe.

Michaël Privot, Director of the European Network Against Racism, responds:
Reports from Europol on terrorism threats since 2006 show that, out of roughly 2,150 attacks in Europe, half of one percent were carried out by Muslim extremists, which is to say precisely 10. It’s important, in relation to that, to see the resources devoted to controlling this threat.

In reality, 50% of Europe’s counter-terrorism resources have been used just for the 0.5 percent of terrorism called ‘Islamic’.

So, how can this outright disproportion between the real threat and the means used be justified? You have to look at the political context. Since the attacks in London and Madrid especially, politicians have lived with a dread that an attack might take place in their voting area and therefore they do not scrimp on means, in order to show that they are taking things in hand.

And then there’s the economic context today. Counter-terrorism, especially against Islamic terrorism, involves hundreds of thousands of jobs in Europe, whether it’s in the public sectors of law and order, security services — but also smaller private offices that draw ample benefit from this — all, obviously, in a context where the Muslim is seen as the absolutely different ‘other’, as the threat for our civilisation and our values.

What we are especially interested in now is to see the impact on communities. Today we can say that minorities, Muslims in particular, are victims of this situation in three ways.

Firstly because they are singled out as the scapegoat within the social majority — these minorities all the problems come through. The second thing is that with such a disproportionate attribution of means Muslims, notably young men, are often the victims of extra sharp scrutiny by the forces of order. And thirdly, given that the forces of order concentrate half their personnel on the fight against the Islamist terrorist who represents almost nothing, they do not take care of the much worse threats such as the terrorism of the extreme right such as we see in Germany, or recently in Italy, where there are certainly Muslim communities who are victims, along with black people, Roma and Jewish communities.

Here I think it’s time we might learn some lessons from this, and return to our common sense and change radically, if we can say that, the policy being followed at European level and in the EU member states.

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