Doc. 10705

4 October 2005

European Muslim communities confronted with extremism

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr Eörsi and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       Recent attacks in major European cities have shown that individuals from well established Muslim communities, born, raised and educated within developed, secular European democracies, can be inspired to commit acts of terrorism by extremist interpretations of Islam.

2.       This shows that it is not enough to combat terrorism using methods involving military force, police and criminal justice, foreign policy, national security or immigration control. Such methods alone are unlikely to tackle effectively the threat posed by the “home-grown” terrorist, since they will fail to anticipate and prevent the development of extremism within European Muslim communities: there is a need for policies that address the problems of alienation and radicalisation of certain individuals and elements, taking into account and external factors.

3.       Such policies must be based on the fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law that lie at the heart of the Council of Europe. They must always respect, in particular, the prohibition on discrimination and the qualified rights to freedom of religion, association and expression. The corollary of this is that all those living within European societies must themselves respect our fundamental principles, thus integrating into the wider European value community that is based upon them. States are entitled, and may even be obliged to act to prevent the dissemination of extremist teachings and practices that are threatening to these fundamental principles.

4.       At the same time, any such policies, to be effective, must be developed by or in cooperation with the European Muslim communities concerned. Many of these communities have already stated their determination to take action against extremist elements within their midst. The Assembly welcomes and encourages these initiatives. Means must be found to ensure that everyone, regardless of and without compromising their religion beliefs, adheres to the European value community. The fight against extremism and terrorism depends on it.

5.       The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

5.1.       studies, from the perspective of the European values upheld by the Council of Europe, measures proposed by governments and European Muslim communities to combat extremism. In this, particular attention needs to be paid to democratic participation, discrimination and respect for human rights, migration and integration, cultural diversity, social cohesion and gender equality.

5.2.       subsequently draws up a recommendation to Member States containing guidelines on policy initiatives which are needed, taking into account existing good practices.

Signed (see overleaf)

Signed 1:

EÖRSI, Mátyás, Hungary, ALDE

BINDIG, Rudolf, Germany, SOC

de PUIG, Lluís Maria, Spain, SOC

de ZULUETA, Tana, Italy, SOC

EINARSSON, Mats, Sweden, UEL

HOLOVATY, Serhiy, Ukraine, ALDE

LLOYD, Tony, United Kingdom, SOC

MARGELOV, Mikhail, Russia, EDG

SCHIEDER, Peter, Austria, SOC

SEYIDOV, Samad, Azerbaijan, EDG

Van den BRANDE, Luc, Belgium, EPP/CD


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group