Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Based in Vatican News, Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) highlights the importance of a comprehensive approach involving dialogue, education and support for families in the fight violent extremism, blind radicalization and terrorism.
According to the Holy See, promoting a culture of encounter that fosters mutual respect and dialogue, supporting families which are the fundamental nucleus of society, and educating young people to the values of justice and peace are important elements in preventing violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism
Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), made these proposals in two separate interventions during the 2021 Chairmanship OSCE-Wide Counter-terrorism Conference, which took place from 20-21 April in Vienna.
Monsignor Urbańczyk expressed concern that the Covid-19 pandemic “has provided extremist and terrorist organizations with new avenues, through the exploitation of feelings of vulnerability and isolation, in advancing their goals of intensifying recruitments, and of spreading hatred and violence.”
Further lamenting a lack of decline in terrorism despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, he noted that extremist groups have “succeeded in rapidly adapting to the new circumstances, turning the social and economic fallout from the pandemic to their own advantage.”
Misuse of religion
Another aspect misused by terrorist organizations is the distortion of religious narratives “in order to increase support and achieve objectives that are political, economic, worldly and short-sighted.”
Terrorism, Monsignor Urbańczyk stressed, “is not due to religion but the misuse or misinterpretation of it.”
In this regard, religious, political, civil, educational and cultural leaders must “recognize the need to promote a culture of dialogue, tolerance, acceptance of others and of living together peacefully,” he said, adding that these, along with “authentic teachings of religions, would effectively contribute to addressing the root causes of extremism and terrorism.