On 17th September 2009, Quilliam Director Maajid Nawaz participated in a conference in Brussels entitled ‘What Future for the EU in Counterterrorism?’. Other participants in the conference included the EU’s Counter-Terrorism co-ordinator Gilles De Kerchove, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Assistant Secretary General Jiri Sedivy and the Director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence’s, Peter Neumann.
Maajid sat on the Prevent panel entitled ‘Preventing and Responding to Radicalisation Leading to Terrorism’. The discussion was chaired by Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies and Maajid raised the following points:
1) There is no need for governments to disengage with Prevent on the assumption that Prevent will involve them in theology, as the struggle against Islamism is an ideological not a religious struggle.
2) There is a need to develop an EU-wide template on Prevent guidance as a resource for those nations still grappling with the Prevent agenda
3) The EU needs to recognize that the exchange of extreme Islamist ideas is a two-way traffic that flows not only to Europe, but from Europe as well.
4) EU foreign policy engagement with Islamist groups should be based on a strategy of ‘critical engagement’ and not appease groups that openly advocate policies that violate internationally recognized human rights standards, and that democracy means more than merely holding elections.