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Prevention of radicalisation through intercultural policies

Publication Illustration
Gruening, Elena.
Council of Europe
Year of Publication

Due to a recent increase in extremist violence and a series of terrorist attacks in Europe and the West, the issue of radicalization is currently a major subject of concern. As an issue arising primarily from a lack of integration and poor diversity management, it is important to take an intercultural approach when aiming to prevent radicalization. The Council of Europe and its partner cities have developed an intercultural approach to issues of integration, which enables cities to reap the benefits and minimize the risks related to human movement and cultural diversity. The key elements of intercultural integration are: Setting-up spaces and opportunities for deep interaction and co-creation between people of different cultural origins and backgrounds, to build trust and realize the creative potential of diversity;power-sharing –involving people of diverse origins in decision-making in urban institutions, be they political, educational, social, economic or cultural;fostering intercultural competence in public, private and civil-society organizations; embracing cultural pluralism and the complexity of identities through leadership discourse and symbolic actions; and managing conflict positively, busting stereotypes and engaging in a debate about the impact and potential of diversity for local development. T

his briefing paper sets out why intercultural policies are important to prevent radicalization of any kind, whether it be based on religious or political ideologies, directed against migrants, Muslims or the Western world.

After recognizing the root causes of radicalization, four intercultural approaches should be taken that complement each other: 1) Fostering a culture of diversity, while encouraging intercultural mixing and interaction as well as political and civic participation, 2) intervening at an early stage and working with those most vulnerable to radicalization, 3) managing conflict positively, by engaging with –instead of criminalizing –those holding extremist views, and 4) combatting stereotypes about Islam and its association with terrorism.