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EU security supports 'grassroots' efforts to fight radicalisation


AFP
MECHELEN, BELGIUM
EU security commissioner Julian King on Friday hailed the Belgian city of Mechelen as a model for tackling radicalisation as he backed similar"grass-roots" activities elsewhere in the EU.
During a tour of the Flemish city of Brussels, King heard Mayor Bart Somers explain how much progress it had made by combining a tough law-and-order approach with social programmes to include Muslims in the community at large.
"You have to be modest and cautious about this. What works in one set of circumstances won't necessarily work in another set of circumstances," King told a joint news conference with Somers.
"That said, I think there are some really good grass-roots activities here in Mechelen and in other cities across this part of Europe, which we should be ready to learn from," he added.
The issue is far from academic: European governments, including Belgium in particular, are grappling with how to prevent young Muslims from becoming radicalised, following a series of attacks across the continent.
The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the deadly November 2015 attacks in Paris and the March bombings in Brussels.
Both cases involved radicals from the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek.
European governments are on alert for more jihadist attacks that have also hit Germany recently.
King said people who deal with potentially alienated young people at sports clubs and community centres should be encouraged to share their experiences more widely.
"There is work we can do at an EU level on building resilience and on supporting the grass-roots level activities across Europe," he said.

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