Category Archives: TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

Algeria: Ooredoo hosts the 32nd Arab Scout Camp

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article by Mouloud Ahmed in Algerie Patriotique (translated by CPNN)

The telecommunications company Ooredoo is hosting the 32nd edition of the Arab Scout Camp, which is held in Algiers from August 25 to September 5, 2018 under the slogan “The Arab Dream”.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article

Two movements: scouting and culture of peace, Are they related?

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Placed under the patronage of His Excellency the President of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, this pan-Arab demonstration, organized by the Algerian Muslim Scouts (SMA), gathers more than 1200 participants representing about twenty Arab countries.

The camp, hosted by Algeria for the third time, aims to promote living together, the culture of peace and solidarity and fraternity between peoples. A rich program has been planned by the Organizing Committee for the benefit of the participants, including cultural and educational activities, sightseeing tours, water activities, entertainment games and thematic conferences.

By hosting this 32nd Arab Scout Camp, Ooredoo confirms its status as a civil organization resolutely involved in supporting events that contribute to the influence of Algeria.

UNESCO recognizes Cortes de Baza (Spain) for Dialogue and Coexistence

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from Granada Hoy (reproduced without commerical purpose)

On August 20, in the cultural week prior to the festivities of Cortes de Baza, Cortes de Baza received recognition as the first Municipality for Dialogue and Coexistence in Andalusia. This appointment arises after the full agreement of the City Council on July 27, where Cortes assumed the institutionalization of the Culture of Peace in the municipality.


Neighbors from Cortes pose next to the title that recognizes them as a Municipality for Dialogue and Coexistence.

The agreement concerns the joint project of the Unesco Center of Andalusia and the Institute of Peace and Conflict of the University of Granada (IPAZ) where the municipality assumes the provisions of resolution A/RES/67/104 (2015) of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the Promotion of Dialogue, Understanding and Cooperation among Religions and Cultures for Peace.

The agreement stipulates that diversity and plurality is an asset and that minorities, whether ethnic, linguistic, cultural or religious, should be recognized, with the aim of eliminating any form of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, in addition to look for the resolution of possible conflicts in a peaceful way.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article)

Question for this article

The refugee crisis, Who is responsible?

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The agreement supports measures that promote tolerance, solidarity and coexistence with refugees, immigrants and displaced persons, as well as their social integration among other measures. It is the latter, a measure of special importance in recent days, where the arrival of people from other territories to our country is generating numerous debates on how to deal with this problem.

Under these premises and with the creation of the Intercultural Dialogue Table, organized on July 13, Cortes de Baza becomes the first Andalusian town with the recognition of Municipality for Dialogue and Coexistence.

The process of this recognition is carried out through the unequivocal demonstration that the locality assumes the aforementioned principles, through a municipal agreement as is also the case of the Altiplano municipality, where it was approved by unanimity of all political groups, and the creation of an Intercultural Dialogue Board, under the verification, advice and support of technicians and researchers from both the Unesco Andalusia Center and the IPAZ. It should be pointed out that the involvement of the City Council of Cortes de Baza as well as the teaching staff of the Colegio Santos Médicos in the locality has been fundamental.

The Intercultural Dialogue Board of Cortes de Baza is composed of people of different nationalities from Russia, Belgium, Romania, Colombia, Mexico, England, Dominican Republic, among others, as well as religious minorities such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims or Orthodox Christians.

It should also be mentioned that of the 16 members that make up this Board, all but three are women, giving it a feminist and integrative vocation. This plurality is appreciated in a small municipality such as Cortes de Baza, which has a population of less than 2,000 residents.

Uri Avnery, leader of the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom, 1923-2018

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article by Rabbi Michael Lerner in Tikkun

Tikkun grieves and mourns the passing of the founder and leader of Israel’s peace movement, Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery.

Until the last moment he continued on the way he had traveled all his life. On Saturday, two weeks ago, he collapsed in his home when he was about to leave for the Rabin Square and attend a demonstration against the “Nation State Law”, a few hours after he wrote a sharp article against that law.

For several decades, Avnery was a columnist for Tikkun magazine, sharing his wisdom and insights with our Tikkun readers. When I met with him in Tel Aviv I found him to be a wise and passionate and sensitive human being, capable to seeing the humanity of the people who criticized him and capable of seeing the faults of his allies in both Israel and Palestine.

Avnery devoted himself entirely to the struggle to achieve peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people in their independent state, as well as between Israel and the Arab and Muslim World (See his article on on Israel’s Days of Shame). He did not get to the end of the road, did not live to see peace come about. We – the activists and supporters of Tikkun magazine, as well as the members of Gush Shalom as well as very many other people who were directly and indirectly influenced by him – will continue his mission and honor his memory.

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Questions for this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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On the day of the passing of Uri Avnery, the most right wing government in the history of Israel is engaged in negotiations with Hamas. Ironically, the same kind of demagogic accusations which were hurled at Uri Avnery throughout his life are now made against right-wing extremist Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

In the history of the State of Israel, Uri Avnery will be inscribed  as a far-seeing visionary who pointed to a way which others failed to see. As Adam Keller, Avnery’s closest ally in Gush Shalom,  put it in a statement, some of whose words I’ve copied in this note, “It is the fate and future of the State of Israel to reach peace with its neighbors and to integrate into the geographical and political region in which it is located. As Avnery’s greatest opponents will ultimately have to follow in his footsteps – because the State of Israel has no other real choice.”

We in the Tikkun community and in our interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spirirtual Progressives, salute all those in Gush Shalom, in the remnants of the Israeli peace movement (tens of  thousands of whom demonstrated against the new “Nation State Law” which Avnery was on his way to protest), and to Jews and people of all faiths who continue to support those of us who insist that the path to safety and security for the Jewish people and for Israel is a path of generosity, repentance, open-hearted reconcialition, and justice for the Palestinian people and a deep respect for the humanity that continues to emerge in all people on this planet despite the forces of violence and repression that are temporarily in ascendency. It is in maintaining that vision that we can best honor the memory of this amazing and wonderful human being whose passing from our world we grieve today.

UN Chief Proposes Armed Peacekeeping Force to Protect Palestinians

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from Telesur TV

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, proposed Friday [17 August] a United Nations-led armed international mission to defend Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza from the Israeli army.

The proposal was one of four laid out by Guterres in a 14-page report. Other options include providing a “more robust United Nations presence on the ground” with rights monitors and political officers, providing more humanitarian and development aid to “ensure the well-being of the population,” creating a civilian observer mission to be present in sensitive areas such as military checkpoints and Israel’s illegal settlements.

Guterres’ report is a response to a U.N. General Assembly resolution adopted in June by 120 states that condemned “Israel’s excessive and disproportionate use of force” against protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip in the context of the Great March of Return, and tasked Guterres with recommending an “international protection mechanism” for the Palestinians.

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Question for this article

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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All of the options presented by Guterres seem unlikely according to observers and activists.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which sole mandate is to provide humanitarian and development aid to the millions of Palestinian refugees has been dramatically underfunded after the United States decided to slash its contributions to the U.N. body.

The United States cut US$300 million in funding for UNRWA earlier this year in an effort to pressure the Palestinian Authority into a U.S.-mediated dialogue with Israel. The PA refused a U.S.-mediated dialogue after U.S. president Donald Trump announced his intentions to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, Israel’s capital city, to the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Trump moved the embassy on the eve of the Palestinian Nakba, which commemorated the over 700,000 Palestinians who had to flee their cities and towns after Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948.

UNRWA currently has a US$217 million budget shortfall.
U.S. attacks on UNRWA are far from over. Emails published this month by Foreign Policy magazine revealed Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior Middle East adviser, and son-in-law has been pushing to remove the refugee status of millions of Palestinians to shut down UNRWA.

Furthermore, Israel has refused to allow observer mission in flashpoints and has increasingly prevented human rights activists from entering the country. So it is unlikely it will give the U.N. a green light for this option.  

The armed option will require approval by the U.N. Security Council, in which Israel’s greatest ally, the U.S. has veto power.  

In the report, Guterres also criticised Israel’s expansion of illegal settlements saying it “continues unabated and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law,” and lamented the high number of Palestinian casualties since the Great March of Return began on March 30 arguing it “reflects an alarming trend of the use of lethal force by Israeli… forces against individuals who may not pose a threat of imminent death or serious injury.”

Guterres’ report comes as Gaza’s Health Ministry reported Friday two Palestinians were killed and 270 were injured by Israeli occupation forces during protests near the Gaza fence.

Traveling by Bicycle Gives Direct Contact with People

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article by Stip & F

After eight years of professional life in the banking sector in Paris, we decided to travel by bike to discover Europe via Morocco. This means of locomotion has become obvious to us. Economical and practical, it allowed us to travel 17000 km during a year. Meeting peope is all the more facilitated as we are in direct contact with them.


(click on image to see the video)

The same questions come up frequently in all languages: Where are you from? Why are you doing this? Where do you sleep ? Their questions allow to get in touch, to express who we are, without necessarily going through the words, but especially by smiling, and what we hope to make clear: our simplicity.

We went in search of ourselves, especially through meeting people, sharing their stories and experiences. The memory of these exchanges will remain with us forever: a Belgian family who drew our first tears at the time of departure in Spain; the Moroccan couple in the Atlas Mountains who shared everything; the kindness and the big heart of an Italian family in Cremona; the welcome and generosity of a Serbian entrepreneur; a memorable breakfast with two retirees in the middle of Finland …

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(Click here for the original version in French.)

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We also discovered a new kind of fast and intense relationship. People did not hesitate to tell us their life stories. This drove us to compassion and humility in the face of their heartbreaking stories. We listened attentively, comforted and left, maybe sometimes a little too fast … Hoping that peace has returned to their life.

These spontaneous exchanges are a great way to learn about yourself. It was rare that we had any reason to be frightened, and when that happened, it was most often based on limits to our understanding, deeply rooted in ourselves through our education and the messages conveyed by society. This experience has shown us that kindness and generosity are everywhere; you just need to open your eyes. It seems that too often, we do not believe what we see, but we see what we believe. Sometimes in the cafes, a customer pays the bill, the boss offers us a meal, a person offers us a room … Arriving with a positive intention can make a big difference.

Inevitably, some events wore on our nerves, like the rain near Foggia in Italy, which in the end was punctuated by a beautiful evening around a fire. We learned that we must welcome everything, accept it as it is, even that which we might consider negative.

Intuition became our best ally over the days in all situations. It’s about giving more space to our feelings as the best indicator. Being in close contact with the elements, we are immersed in the environment, open to capturing more information. Our senses sharpen, we know instinctively if we must extend a meeting, shorten or change course. Sometimes, we felt that an invitation was too insistent, and we refused it, at the risk of offending someone. We prefer to be in agreement with ourselves rather than compromise.

The difficulties we encountered, whether related to climate, relationships with others, or our own doubts … turn out to be ways for us to grow. Once the discomfort has passed, the field of possibilities gets bigger. This has been a journey to remember who we are, to go beyond the facades built around our ego.

We continue our journey, having become more aware and grateful for all the intentions of life. Above all, we must simply remember: the human being is benevolent by nature.

USA: A call to resist immigrant concentration camps

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from Courage to Resist

Courage to Resist believes that all military personnel have a moral and legal obligation to refuse to comply with any order that involves collaboration with [the following] immigrant concentration camps.

Actual concentration camps are in the process of development at military bases across the Southern United States. Potential locations have been identified by military or Pentagon personnel as:

Tornillo Port of Entry, Texas – capacity 360 teenagers CURRENTLY ACTIVE

Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas – capacity 45,000
Fort Bliss, Texas

Dyess Air Force Base, Texas

Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas – capacity 20,000
Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Air Station, California – capacity 47,000

Navy Outlying Field Wolf and Silverhill, Alabama – capacity 25,000
Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Arizona

Concord Naval Weapons Station, California – capacity 47,000 CANCELLED [see below]

This isn’t the first time in US history that facilities are being constructed and used to imprison large numbers of a persecuted minority in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities (the definition of a concentration camp). Previous examples of this are now infamous, such as the so-called Japanese internment camps. We’re now on the brink of adding a new chapter to this dark history.

Military officials, in response to pressured deadlines from the White House, have stated that these camps can begin to be operational by mid-August. Estimates are that capacity for another 10,000 people can be added each month. The White House’s stated timeline of 45 days out from June 27th has local base commanders scrambling and caught unaware.

In addition to providing the land, military personnel will construct the camps while private agencies will manage the operations. While this simplified explanation of operations seeks to minimize the military’s role, it omits the endless capacities in which the armed forces will surely be facilitating the functioning of these camps such as with water, electricity, sewage, trash, and all of the other services to go allow with sustaining tens of thousands of immigrant detainees.

Additional operational problems include the difficulty of housing persons in restricted access bases who legally need access to immigration and civil-liberties lawyers, secure areas to discuss their cases, as well as access for advocates, relatives, news media and political activists. Another issue is the lack of state licensing requirements, such as health and building codes, which military locations enable the government to avoid.

As of July 10th, two weeks after the Pentagon confirmed that it was indeed working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to construct these camps, there was still no Memorandum of Understanding with either DHS or Health and Human Services (HHS) nor could any timeline be stated for one. A memorandum would clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of all parties. To move forward with construction plans without one, nor any clear legal guidance, certainly leads military personnel into dangerous waters for themselves.

The military is strictly prohibited from domestic policing as stated in the constitution yet military personnel are being drafted into doing just that with this rising domestic enforcement of immigration policy. Just because Trump/Sessions Co. declares a war on immigrants, doesn’t make it an actual war. Being quite clearly an illegal order, the question is who will refuse to aid and abet?

The Trump administration’s reckless leadership is currently putting military personnel in danger of running afoul of the law. While military personnel at all levels have a responsibility to refuse to participate in facilitating these camps, commanders in particular are at a particularly high risk in complying with these orders due to the precedent of the Nuremberg prosecution of those who aided and abetted Nazi leadership.

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Questions related to this article:

The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

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Already the construction of one camp has been abandoned due to people’s refusal to look the other way. The proposed use of the Concord Naval Weapons Station experienced significant resistance and outcry from the community and local officials who opposed the plan once it was exposed via a leaked Navy memo recently published. DHS soon thereafter announced they would no longer build a concentration camp at this location. To follow that up, on July 10th the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department announced it is cancelling its contract with ICE which facilitated the local county jails holding ICE-detained persons for a lucrative fee.

These human rights victories have been happening in other communities as well including Sacramento County just last month.

Since the news coverage of the camp plans was broken, there has been heated debate within military communities as individuals seek to understand and define their reactions to this new era we find ourselves in. Meanwhile more than thirty lawmakers are pushing forward different amendments which would bar National Guard or other reserve components from enforcing immigration laws, and restrict the Pentagon from housing immigrants on military bases. Alabama Rep. Byrne recently stated “Housing anyone in tents on the Gulf Coast during the heat of summer and the heart of hurricane season would be inhumane and a major mistake. I am committed to working with our local officials to fight back against this misguided idea.”

There are discussions and calls right now for counties to cease partnering with ICE, for communities surrounding military bases to refuse to work on the bases which will hold tens of thousands of people for the “crime” of seeking refuge.

Share this article and discuss with others these facts as you ask yourself, what will I do? Now is the time to make a decision. The White House has requested that the first of these large scale camps be ready by mid-August. We are in the midst of a pivotal moment in history, one way or another.

Sources:

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Flotilla bringing needed medical supplies to Gaza

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

A news release from Right to a Just Future for Palestine

In the past 15 weeks, more than 130 Palestinians in Gaza have been executed by Israeli snipers, more than 4,000 have been wounded and 15,000 injured with tear gas. At least 43 people have had their legs amputated due to the types of bullets the Israeli Occupation Forces are using and hundreds more will have long-term debilitating injuries from these bullets. The medical system in Gaza is overwhelmed and urgently needs medical supplies.


(Click on image to enlarge)

TAlthough the Freedom Flotilla Coalition continues to see our mission’s goal as political solidarity rather than charity or aid, the need for medical supplies in Gaza is too urgent to ignore. As a result, our Right to a Just Future for Palestine flotilla that is on its way to Gaza will carry as many medical supplies as our four boats can safely hold. These are medical supplies that have been specifically requested by Palestinian medical authorities in Gaza – all of them are in short supply due to the blockade.

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Question for this article

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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We demand that the Israeli government does not interfere with our boats as they approach, dock and unload in Gaza, in order to deliver the  medical  supplies  directly to hospitals in Gaza City, less than one 1.6 km from the Gaza City harbour. Whatever happens to our boats, we hold the Israeli government accountable for the safe reception of these life-saving supplies by Palestinian medical authorities in Gaza.

As an occupying state that has placed a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza, international law mandates that Israel must allow medical supplies into Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition and its worldwide allies, including those in Israel, will keep the international community and governments informed of any delays in delivering these critical medical supplies to Gaza.

People anywhere who wish to contribute to towards the cost of these medical supplies can make donations through any one of our campaigns, designating your donation “Medical supplies for Gaza.” We will use your donations to purchase medical supplies close to our last port of call, Palermo (please do not send us medical supplies though as we do not have the capacity to move additional items to our departure point). Together, we can help end the illegal blockade of Gaza.

(Thank you to Phyllis Kotite, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Americans march to support immigrants and to oppose separation of families by the Trump administration

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

Media review by CPNN

Over the July Fourth holiday weekend thousands of Americans are taking to the streets to protest the Trump administration separation of children from their immigrant parents at the Mexican border.

There is good coverage in the mass media, as illustrated by the following from Mercury News.


Location of 700 protest marches. From MoveOn.org

“They gathered by the thousands for the historic Women’s Marches, demanded stricter gun control in the March for Our Lives, and took over airport terminals across the nation to protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban last year.

“And on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans — enraged by the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border — will take to the streets once again to protest a controversial Trump administration policy that has caused the detention of thousands of undocumented immigrants, and call on the government to reunite more than 2,000 migrant children taken from their parents.

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Questions related to this article:

The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

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“Families Belong Together” rallies are planned in more than 700 cities across the U.S., including about 20 in the Bay Area, from San Francisco to San Jose, San Leandro, Alameda, Oakland, Concord and Morgan Hill. Rallies are also planned in New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and MoveOn.org have teamed up to help organize demonstrations in over 700 cities, as illustrated by the map shown on the left. Earlier this year the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit to stop family separation and to demand that these children be reunited with their parents.

The ACLU website lists the following suggestions for action:

* Call Congress to stop the brutality

* Listen to the podcast

* Support ACLU partners

* Add your name

* Watch the Border Rally

* Volunteer with the ACLU

* Print your poster

* Show up and raise your voice

* Start your own campaign

Ivory Coast: The Mohammed VI Foundation preaches the return to the sources of Islam through the Achâarite doctrine

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article by George Moihet in Afrique le 360 (translated by CPNN)

The Mohammed VI Foundation of African Oulema organized a conference in Abidjan on June 21st and 22nd which brought together guides, scholars and leaders of the Ivorian Muslim community around the teachings of the Achâarite doctrine. Promoted by Imam Al Achâari, this doctrine is an invitation to the original sources of Islam, which is committed to peace and tolerance and peaceful coexistence in society.


Video of the conference

The challenge of the meeting is to promote these values, themselves promoted by the Prophet of Islam, in order to contribute to the consolidation of “living together” in Ivorian society. But it is also a question of “rehabilitating and restoring the image of Islam” in the context of the persistence of terrorist acts at the global level.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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“This symposium, which is the beginning of a set of activities, will enable us to set up the new Muslim (…) by rehabilitating our values ​​which characterize us in reality and to avoid falling into the extremism and radicalism that are not Islamic, “said Cheickh Boikary Fofana, president of COSIM, the Higher Council of Imams and Supreme Leader of the Muslim community in the country.

This very first conference of the Mohammed VI Foundation in Africa was the occasion of the launch of the Ivorian section of the organization. Present at the ceremony, the ambassador of Morocco, Abdelmalek Kettani, rejoiced at the action of the Foundation which participates in “a vision of sharing knowledge, knowledge but also rooting peace, stability , the cohesion between the different parts of this great continent which is ours with a view to its promotion and its development “.

A series of symposia is planned this year by the local chapter of the Foundation around themes such as Sufism, the Maliki school, etc.

Dakar: International Post-Forum Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from 7sur7 Senegal (translation by CPNN)

Senegal today [25 juin] hosted the Dakar International Post-Forum Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa. The seminar is organized as part of a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese and the Center for Higher Studies of Defense and Security (CHEDS) of Senegal. This year it is focused on the theme: “Prevention and fight against against violent extremism: what are the people’s responses? ”


Horchani Ferhat

Professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Science of Tunis, Horchani Ferhat, in his introductory presentation, explained the reasons for the failure of the international community in the fight against terrorism. This failure, according to him, is reflected at least on three levels.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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The first is the dramatic increase in terrorist groups. According to him, the number of terrorist groups is growing with different names in different localities.

The second level is that, according to Professor Ferhat, the current terrorist groups (Islamic State, Daesch) have broader ambitions than mere terror. They have territorial and political ambitions.

Regarding the third level of failure, the professor reports that these groups are able to attract a large number of young people across national borders. The threat is transnational, even transcontinental.

For the professor, this relative failure of the international community, despite all the money that has been spent, requires another approach. “We can not go on like this,” said Professor Horchani Ferhat, thinking that we need a better approach to the phenomenon of terrorism. The objective should be to eradicate not only what is visible but to root out the evil at its roots.

“We need a real strategy, and this strategy needs to be global and multifaceted, which means that it must involve not only the State but also the national communities, that is to say the general populations”, he stressed. He also recalled that the phenomenon of terrorism is very complex and can have very different motivations. It can, in his opinion, have its source in crime, the drug trade, the search for easy money, radicalization, social and economic exclusion, and absolute poverty, among others.