In my previous blog, I mentioned examples of interfaith and intercultural dialogue going on in Europe and emphasized the need for expansion of such efforts and the need for the world public to be more informed about them. In this blog, I will focus on intervention for youth considered to be greatly at risk of going to the religious extreme.
Bishop Michel Dubost (Head of French Bishops Council for Interfaith Relations), says that lots of immigrants, especially teenagers, don’t feel connected with society in France. This is partly because they don’t have roots in French society and don’t have an elder to talk to about their heritage, and this makes them easily influenced by extremists. This is true in Germany as well, where many people (both Muslim and non-Muslim alike) believe that one can’t be German and Muslim at the same time. Environments like these create the conditions for extremist yearning among youth to fester in a cycle of hostility between those who perceive other groups as being different.
The place where disaffected youth tend to become influenced by extremists is usually over the internet via social media sites, not in a mosque. In Europe, certain nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) seek to intervene when they notice young people accessing extremist websites.