Local Muslim community in Belgium calls for recruiting chaplains who can educate youth about religion.
As EU officials call for boosting security and anti-radicalization methods, the local Muslim community in the Belgian capital of Brussels urged European officials not to leave its youth in the dark.
Kastit Mustafa, an imam at a local mosque in Brussels, said communicating with the Muslim youth in Europe is crucial.
Mustafa was one of several other religion experts who spoke at an anti-radicalization conference in Brussels on Tuesday.
”The Muslim youth in Belgium feels excluded from society, not only in terms of unemployment, but in terms of expressing their religion and culture,” Mustafa said.
Kamel Meziti, board member of the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO), said recruiting chaplains is important because there is a lack of imams in Europe who can educate the youth about their religion.
According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, just under 300 people left Belgium in the two years up to December to fight in Syria.
The London-based think tank said Belgium was one of the most heavily affected countries in Western Europe, supplying 27 fighters per million of their population.
Veysel Filiz, spokesman for EMISCO, said a school system that directs young children from Muslim communities away from extremist elements and towards responsible behavior is important.
”It will give Muslim children a sense of their own religious affiliation and non-Muslim children extra information,” Filiz said.