The fight against terrorism is a common international fight and it should never be considered as a fight between civilizations, President of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft said.
“It should never be considered as a fight between civilizations, between major religions, but a common effort from all civilizations and major religions,” Lykketoft told Xinhua in an interview hours after Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.
The apparently coordinated terrorist bombings have killed at least 34 people and injured more than 180 others in the Belgian capital, also the capital of the European Union — the very heart of Europe.
The Brussels carnage, for which the extremist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility, came days after the Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured in the Brussels borough of Molenbeek, known as a hiding place for terrorists.
It seems to be home grown groups of fanatics associated with the IS that committed this horrific crime, said Lykketoft of Denmark who serves as the president of the 70th session of the General Assembly.
“This is a small and very dangerous group of gangsters using the Muslim faith as a shield or argument for their crimes and we have to fight them,” he said.
Many people feel the same as the majority of those people that have been killed by terrorist activities around the globe are peaceful people of Muslim belief, he said.
The notorious IS has conducted mass killings, abductions and brutal beheadings since it seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014.
Terrorist fighters and extremists affiliated to the group also launched terrorist attacks in other parts of the world. Last year, the IS terrorists bombed several places in Paris and killed 130 people, shocking the world with its brutality.
Lykketoft acknowledged that besides the terrible consequences for those killed or wounded in terrorist attacks, terrorism has created “an unacceptable animosity” between the general public and Muslims.
“I think we have to make this distinction in order to avoid that this is a part of spiral of xenophobia and animosity between major groups and society,” he added.
The challenge of terrorism and extremism has become a growing threat facing the entire international community. The Brussels attacks were the latest in the month following a string of terrorist atrocities that hit Turkey, Iraq, Tunisia and Cote d’Ivoire.
Lykketoft said a large number of different things have to be done to fight violent extremism, citing a report from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The world has to address the root causes that nurture the extremism phenomenon, including tackling the propaganda targeting under-privileged people in different corners worldwide, including in European societies, Lykketoft said.
The UN chief, in a report released earlier this year, called on member states to adopt national plans of action to prevent extremism since the extremists groups, including the IS, Al-Qaida and Boko Haram, have spread their influence worldwide.
Ban’s report said a focus should be given to seven priority areas, including conflict prevention, strengthening good governance, engaging local communities, empowering women, as well as facilitating education development for young people.
The president of UN General Assembly said “it has to do with education. It has to do with getting, as early as possible, hold on those persons and try to drive them away from a road towards violent extremism and terrorism.”
“It is unfortunately also underlining the necessity of very efficient and very hard measures of intelligence cooperation, police cooperation and as well as military actions in the region of the Middle East where the masterminds and coordinators of these actions are probably situated,” he added.
News Analysis: Brussels terror attack seeps into Brexit debate
STRASBOURG, March 23 (Xinhua) — Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels have led to an embroiled debate over “Brexit”, Britain’s referendum on the membership of the European Union (EU).
Within an hour of the first attack, the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) issued a press release linking the attacks to the EU’s immigration policies and the Schengen passport-free zone. This sparked an escalation in comments over the following 24 hours, mostly on social media. Full story
Interview: Without anti-terror measures Brussels attacks could have been much worse: expert
BRUSSELS, March 23 (Xinhua) — The Brussels terror attacks could have been much more damaging were it not for anti-terrorism measures taken by Belgian authorities in recent months, said an expert in an interview with Xinhua.
According to Firouzeh Nahavandi, a professor at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) specializing in the sociology of terrorism and jihadism, the events of March 22 “were predictable to the extent that we knew there were hidden terrorists, especially following the arrest of Salah Abdeslam.” Full story
Brussels airport attackers identified as brothers El Bakraoui
BRUSSELS, March 23 (Xinhua) — The two suicide bombers carried out the Brussels airport attacks on Tuesday have been identified as brothers Khalid and Brahim El Bakraoui, local media reported on Wednesday.
The brothers were Brussels residents with criminal records, but have not been linked by local police to terrorism until now, the broadcaster RTBF quoted an unnamed source as saying.Full story
Spotlight: World leaders condemn terrorist attacks in Brussels
BEIJING, March 22 (Xinhua) — World leaders strongly denounced the terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday and expressed their condolences, calling for concerted efforts to fight against global terrorism.
At least 34 people were killed in explosions on Tuesday at Brussels airport and on a city subway train, according to the latest numbers published by Belgian media.Full story
News Analysis: Causes of terrorism should be uprooted both from within and without Europe
by Zhao Bochao
BEIJING, March 23 (Xinhua) — Less than five months after bloody terrorist attacks rocked Paris last November, Brussels, the capital of the European Union, also suffered from multiple deadly bomb attacks on Tuesday morning, killing at least 34 people and injuring 170 more.
The extremist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the terror attack, and threatened other countries participating in the anti-IS coalition.