Tolerance against radicalisation – Toledo, 10-11 July 2017 – Expert Meeting Report

An Expert Meeting on “Tolerance against radicalization. Towards a culture of peace and tolerance agains radicalization leading to violent extremism and terrorism” was held in Toledo (Spain) on 10 and 11 July 2017.

The first day the Meeting took place at the Faculty of Law of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, whilst the second day the Meeting was celebrated at the Tapestry and Textile Museum of the Cathedral of Toledo.

The Agenda of the event is accesible here.

INAUGURATION

The Meeting was kindly inaugurated by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Mr Alberto Sanz, who welcomed the participants and stressed the commitment of the University of Castilla-La Mancha with the promotion of a culture of peace and tolerance among University professors, researchers and students, and mentioned different initiatives of the University in order to promote high level education in values and cultural diversity.

FIRST SESSION – EU LEGAL FRAMEWORK

The first session of the meeting focused on the EU strategic and legal approach in order to prevent and combat radicalism within the European Union (internal dimension) and with third States and international organizations (external dimension).

Mr Francisco Fonseca-Morillo, Deputy Director General of Justice and Consumers of the EU Commission, stressed the need to combine preventive and combatting measures to fight radicalization and ensure the security of EU citizens in an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice without internal borders. He reminded that security is a matter under the responsibility of the EU Member States, whilst the duty of the EU institutions is to reinforce the actions of the EU Member States and ensure coordination amongst them.

With this approach, and in line with the Communication of the Commission supporting the prevention of radicalization leading to violent extremism (COM(2016) 379 final of 14.6.2016), Mr Fonseca-Morillo mentioned that radicalization is an increasingly complex and evolving phenomenon that calls for an in-depth knowledge and a multi-faceted response, including (1) The support of projects and initiatives targeting a better understanding of the drivers underlying radicalisation, (2) Countering terrorist propaganda and hate speech online, (3) Breaking the cycle and addressing radicalisation in prisons, (4) Promoting inclusive education and EU common values, (5) Promoting inclusive, open and resilient societies and reaching out to young people, (6) Reinforcing the security dimension of addressing radicalisation by promoting the exchange of information, police and judicial cooperation, and (7) Addressing violent radicalisation beyond the EU´s borders.

Ms Ángeles Gutiérrez Zarza, University Professor of Civil and Criminal Proceedings at UCLM focused her intervention on the strategies and actions developed the EU in order to tackle radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism in third countries, with special attention to Syria, Iraq and the Mediterranean countries included in the European Neighborhood Policy.

In the last part of her intervention, Ms Gutiérrez Zarza wondered where are the missing and non-accompanied children who came to Europe from Syria, Afganistan and other areas of conflict, and stressed the need to address this situation as a matter of urgency. Although the EU institutions have launched some initiatives in order to reinforce the security of minors arriving to the EU borders, a more effective action and further commitment is needed in line with the International Convention of the Rights of the Child and other International and European legal texts.

SECOND SESSION – INVESTIGATING AND PROSECUTING RADISALISATION, YIHADISM AND HATE SPEECH IN SPAIN

The second session started with an intervention given by Mr Vicente Javier González Mota, Prosecutor at the Audiencia Nacional and Eurojust Correspondent for Terrorism Matters. He shared the difficulties encountered by Spanish judicial authorities when investigating and prosecuting terrorist related criminal offences associated with yihadism, and gave an interesting overview of the reasons leading European women to travel of Syria, Iraq and other areas of conflict to serve Daesh and their fighters.

Mr Alfonso Aya Onsalo, Prosecutor at the Spanish Supreme Court Specialised on Hate Speech and Discrimination Criminal Offences, described the long process experienced by the Spanish legislator until the recognition of hate speech criminal offences in the Spanish Criminal Code. He also acknowledged the difficulties face by Prosecutors and other practitioners in order to apply in practice hate speech criminal offences.

THIRD SESSION – PROTECTING RELIGIOUS MINORITIES. THE MAGNIFICENT ART OF COPTOS AND MOZÁRABES

In the recent past, some religious minorities as the Coptes of Egypt have been specially threatened by radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism. The culture, religion and art of these minorities must be preserved and promoted, as they are traditionally sources of inspiration and enrichment of many other cultures and civilizations. In the third session, Mr Yehia Yussuf Ramadan illustrated the audience about the most relevant features of the Copte minority. Following his intervention Ms Laura Gutiérrez Martín, a descendant of the ancient Mozarabs community who lived in Toledo jointly with Muslims and Jewish in the Middle Age, underlined the most relevant contributions of the Mozarabes in Art and religious Liturgy.

SESSIONS 4 AND 5 – REINFORCING INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE. MUTUAL ENRICHMENT OF CULTURES

Sessions 4 and 5 of the Expert Meeting were focused on the influence of Muslim and Arab Sciences and Arts in further developments of Botanic, Agriculture, Agronomy, Urban planning, Architecture and Decorative Arts. The speakers were prestigious University professors and experts from the Spanish Ministry of Education of Culture, all of them with a high specialization in the respective topics.

VISIT TO THE ANDALUSIAN WALLS OF TOLEDO AND THE MOZARAB CHURCH OF SAN LUCAS

Mr Santos Jaime Valor, a prominent researcher at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, guided the participants of the Expert Meeting through the walls of the historic city of Toledo, paying special attention to those architectural elements built under the Andalusian period. The visit finalized at the Mozarab Church of San Lucas, wherein Mr José Antonio Martínez explained the particularities of the Mozarab Liturgy.

 

SESSION 6 – PROMOTING INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES AND EDUCATION IN TOLERANCE

Session 6 was devoted to the need of promoting inclusive societies and education in values. The session started with a lecture given by Mr Ramón Sánchez González, Professor of Modern History of the Faculty of Education UCLM, focused on the relationship among Moriscos and old-Christians between 1575 and 1610.

Then Mr Eduardo F. Rodríguez, Advisor for Education of Adults and Diversity at the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha, invited the audience to reflect on the need to promote tolerance in Schools and Institutes.

SESSION 7 – PROTECTING CULTURAL HERITAGE. COMBATTING DESTRUCTION AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING OF CULTURAL GOODS

In the past few years, some of the most relevant heritage sites in Middle East have been destroyed or seriously injured by Daesh, Al-Qaida, the Taliban and other terrorist and extremist groups. Many of these groups are also involved in illicit trafficking of cultural goods from Middle East countries as a way of financing their terrorist attacks and related activities. The answer given by the International Community of this phenomenon was analyzed by Ms Marina San Román Calvo, Spanish Lawyer and Associate Professor at the University of Burgos, and Ms Elena Piñones, Professor at the University Rey Juan Carlos.

The Spanish legal provisions governing the destruction and illicit trafficking of cultural goods were analyzed by Mr Javier Rufino Rus, Spanish Prosecutor of Sevilla for the Protection of Environment, Urban Planning and Protection of Cultural Heritage. He also gave numerous examples of Spanish police operations and judicial investigations undertaken in the past few years in our country against individuals and networks involved in illicit trafficking of cultural goods, and described the difficulties faced by these authorities in order to prosecute and ensure conviction of suspects of such activities.

SESSION 8 – STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF EUROJUST IN INVESTIGATING AND PROSECUTING DAESH 

Mr Francisco Jiménez-Villarejo, Prosecutor and Spanish National Member of Eurojust, briefed the audience on the increasing involvement and role of Eurojust in investigations and prosecutions undertaken by EU Member States in close cooperation with third countries against Daesh. He also presented the different strategic reports produced by Eurojust in order to reinforce the judicial dimension in the fight against the Islamic State, Al-Qaida and other related terrorist groups.

SESSION 9. SPANISH ARMED FORCES IN PEACE KEEPING MISSIONS 

Mr Santiago J. Fernández Ortiz-Repiso, Teniente Coronel Batallón de Helicópteros de Combate del Acuartelamiento de Almagro, delivered a presentation on the participation of the Spanish Armed Forces in peace keeping missions developed in third States.

SESSION 10. UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS AGAINST DAESH

Mr Javier García-Larrache, Deputy Director General in the fight against Terrorism in the Spanish Ministry of External Relations described in detail United Nations Resolutions adopted by the Security Council in the fight against Daesh. He specially focused on the Resolutions approved in the two-year period 2015-2016 under which Spain was member of the Security Council and took over its Presidency in October 2015 and December 2016.

 

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