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Report: Swiss society should act to prevent radicalization

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Report: Swiss society should act to prevent radicalization
Teachers should be trained to spot early signs of radicalization, says the report. File photo: Shelby Stewart
11:04 CEST+02:00
The Swiss government has published guidelines aiming to help members of society identify potential cases of Islamic radicalization.

The report by the National Security Network (SVS) outlines the measures that cantons and local communities can take to prevent radicalization, covering issues related to education, integration, religion and sentencing.

“Radicalization poses a challenge to the whole of society, a challenge that goes far beyond the competences of the security services alone,” André Duvillard, a spokesman for the National Security Network said in a statement.

“Many figures unrelated to the security services are in direct contact with the population. They can detect early signs of radicalization and counter them with prevention measures,” he said.

Among the report's recommendations, young people, parents and teachers should be better informed about the role of the internet and social media in radicalization, and teachers should be given training to detect radicalization among their students, it said.

To be effective, cantons and regions should implement a collaborative strategy against radicalization, including giving specific local bodies the responsibility for informing the public on the issue.

It is essential that the Muslim community participates in the fight against radicalization, said the report, which recommends the establishment of a national centre to deal with religious issues of national importance.

As well as identifying concrete steps against radicalization, the report also proposes broader measures including fighting against unemployment, encouraging participation in society and increasing understanding of democratic principles.

The issue of home-grown extremism has been a concern for Switzerland of late, particularly in the town of Winterthur, the home town of several young people who have travelled to Syria in recent years.

In May the city opened a new service aimed at preventing radicalization, modelled on a similar institution in Zurich.

Teachers, social workers and youth workers in the city were among those given training to spot potential cases of radicalization in a series of workshops last year.

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