N-VA advocates for integrated Flemish approach to religious radicalisation

1 October 2014

The religious radicalisation of young people demands an integrated approach by various governments. “Flanders must also make a contribution,” says N-VA party leader Matthias Diependaele. Therefore he advocates for the establishment of a political steering group in the Flemish Government.

Today, the number of young Belgians fighting in Iraq and Syria is estimated at 350. It is striking that Belgium has the highest number of Syrian fighters in proportion to its population. “We cannot accept that young people from our cities are turning their backs on our society and seeking salvation in religious fundamentalism, from which they increasingly go on to commit atrocities in bloody, foreign wars,” Diependaele states. “And we cannot continue to stand by helplessly when Syrian fighters from our own country will soon return to our cities.”

Flemish steering group
The various governments must adopt an integrated approach in order to identify behaviour that can indicate radicalisation in good time and to take the appropriate action. The Federal Government contributes, for example, with its responsibility related to security, justice and migration. Local authorities must also play a leading role.

“Flanders also has diverse competences that touch on the issue: education, including truancy, juvenile delinquency and juvenile criminal law etc. We must tackle the religious radicalisation of young people across the different policy areas. At the same time we must engage in broad consultation and cooperate with other levels. In doing so various aspects must be addressed: from prevention to detection to intervention.” According to Diependaele this can best be achieved through a political steering group in the Flemish Government.

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