Need for Comprehensive Anti-Extremism Strategy

Need for Comprehensive Anti-Extremism StrategyNeed for Comprehensive Anti-Extremism Strategy

The foreign minister underscored the necessity of adopting a "comprehensive" strategy in the campaign against extremism to prevent spread of violence, which poses a threat to the entire world.

"There is a global consensus that Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is a criminal entity that should be defeated and whose members should be brought to justice," Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

The consensus points to the fact that members of the international community share common interests in defeating the so-called Islamic State and similar groups stirring sectarianism, Zarif wrote in an article published in the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Highlighting unanimity as a "great privilege", he said it has yet to be translated into a set of "purposeful" and "effective" measures to be taken as part of a "comprehensive, harmonious and consistent" strategy.

Zarif said such a strategy should have special  characteristics. "It should be serious, universal, legal, non-discriminatory and cooperative and free from selective approaches typical of old models of power struggle."

The strategy in question should be founded on principles of international law and the UN Charter, especially those prohibiting the use of force against other countries, the top diplomat said. "Based on the strategy, any fight against extremism should primarily focus on cultural and ideological domains," he said, adding, "It will mobilize religious and social leaders, the media, universities, social networks and other means to help reject and refute distorted interpretations of religious precepts, which promote violence."

It needs to address factors such as "dictatorship, poverty and discrimination", which pave the way for the establishment and spread of extremism, Zarif said.

"Such strategy should involve measures to counter Islamophobia, which obscures the distinction between violent extremists and true Muslims, and thereby … serving Daesh's interests," he added.