Mosques and Islamic terrorism in Europe
Security officials from Europe's largest countries have thrown their weight behind the EU Commission's plans to map out mosques on the continent to identify imams who preach radical Islam that raises the threat of homegrown terrorism.
The project, to be finished by the fall, will focus on the roles of imams, their training, their ability to speak in the local language and their source of funding, EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini told a news conference.
Europe had ample experience with the "misuse of mosques, which instead of being places of worship are used for other ends, Italian Interior Minister Guiliano Amato said Saturday.
"This is bringing about a situation that involves all of our countries and involves the possibility of attacks and developing of networks that use one country to prepare an attack in another," Amato said, after a meeting in Venice of interior ministers and security officials from six European countries and the United States.
Frattini also emphasized the need of strengthened dialogue with the Islamic communities "to avoid sending messages that incite hate and violence."
Security officials from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland also expressed concern about drug-trafficking, and said they would work with African nations to interrupt a new cocaine route from Colombia across Africa into Europe.
"They have created bases in Europe and we need to have our counter-bases," Amato said, noting that the Spaniards have seen an influx of cocaine in the south and east of their country beyond the traditional Atlantic route.
The officials proposed setting up drug-fighting bases in Lisbon to monitor sea traffic and Gibraltar to monitor land.
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