Effective fight against terrorism require bolstering tolerance in societies: EU foreign affairs chief

- Leaders need to foster tolerance inside civil society to address root causes of terrorism, says Josep Borrell

Beyza Binnur Dönmez  | 20.09.2023 - Update : 21.09.2023
Effective fight against terrorism require bolstering tolerance in societies: EU foreign affairs chief EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell


The EU foreign policy chief said Wednesday that acts like Quran burning are being exploited by terrorists and emphasized the need to spread tolerance in societies to effectively fight terrorism. 

"To address the root causes of terrorism, we must involve civil society. We need to foster tolerance while addressing acts of hate, Quran burnings, and targeting of minorities," Josep Borrell said in opening remarks ahead of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

"In all our actions (to counter terrorism), involving civil society is vital," he said. "We cannot effectively address the root causes of violent extremism, or effectively rehabilitate former terrorists without evolving civil societies, without free and reliable information outlets or without community leaders."

The necessary civic space for this purpose keeps reducing in various parts of the world, he said. "That is why we must do our utmost to reverse this trend across the globe,” said Borrell.

He underlined that to fight terrorism, the world must promote tolerance as the world is seeing provocative acts and acts of intolerance and hate often.

"We see Quran burnings, we see the targeting of ethnic religious or other minorities, fueling intolerance and grievances," he said. "These are, time and again, exploited by terrorists to spread their distorted ideologies, recruiting and deploying terrorist actors."

Diversity and tolerance are critical for a harmonious society, he said, urging all leaders to promote tolerance within their communities and countries.

Islamophobic figures and groups in northern Europe in recent months have repeatedly carried out Quran burnings and similar attempts to desecrate the Muslim holy book, drawing outrage from Muslim countries and the world.

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