Between 60 000 and 70 000 radicalised individuals are detected by the relevant authorities in the EU, according to the report presented to the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) by Jean-Charles Brisard, the head of the Centre the Analysis of Terrorism (CAT).
At heart of problem of defeating of radicalisation in Europe is an absence of unified # approach towards terrorism, while some member-states say they don’t see it as priority, but it is wrong, their countries can be used by terrorists, even if the problem does not manifest itself – Brisard said. However he warned against a simplistic approach to radical Islam: it is easy to throw everyone in one port, but reality is complex, for example salafites reject jihadism, these factors should not be omitted, Brisard continued. The other difficulty in defeating of radicalisation is its method: the terrorist organisations promote a model that can be joined in many ways, and places – nowadays it is not necessary to come to Caliphate, one can serve ISIS in Afghanistan, Libya, Tunisia, or in Europe. Reaching Europe was not an original purpose of ISIS, initially they invited all the good Mahomedans to come to construct the Caliphate, but later they saw an opportunity to infiltrate with migrant flows, although it was not their initial strategy. Brisard also warned against demonisation of Islam, claiming that the radicals are marginal cases, while the overwhelming majority of Muslims are living their lives aligned with democratic values in European societies.
During Q&A session the MEPs focused on the ways, and methods the radicalisation can be defeated, and the possibility of contribution on the EU level, they also reflected on the huge figures of already detected individuals under surveillance, expressing concerns about their chances to switch to actions. Former MEP, and leader of group France Insoumise in Assemblée Nationale Jean-Luc Mélenchon pointed out that there are already more jihadists in Europe, than military in Belgium army, the situation representing grave security concerns.
In his intervention MEP Geoffrey van Orden (UK, ECR) underlined that there is a cleavage between left and right in perspectives of dealing with Islam and its radical form, the obvious difference in political concepts does not allow to build common EU approach to radicalisation.
Responding to MEPs Brisard clarified that monitoring of the radicals in the EU is not a solution, because half of the individuals who committed terrorist acts were unknown to police, and had ‘virgin’ record. However there are local communities, who can play a crucial role in defeating radicalisation.
The counterterrorism can’t be limited to running dossiers on radicals, Brisard underscored, the dossiers and monitoring do not prevent the terrorist acts, they are just markers, the ‘tools’ for the services, ‘nothing more than that’. The essential fight against terrorism and radicalisation lies close to the threat in analysing the situations in proximity. Brisard also added that local communities are crucial allies in prevention of radicalisation of youth.