FM warns against "equating Islam and terrorism"
Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Vienna that Serbia is firmly committed to working with international partners to contribute to combating terrorism.Source: Beta
Speaking at the "Tackling Jihadism Together" conference on Friday, Dacic stressed, however, that "any identification of Islam with extremism and terrorism must be avoided, which is why special attention must be paid at the same time to fighting Islamophobia."
"Serbia wants to contribute to all measures at international level towards the eradication of extremism and radicalism and preventing terrorist activities. Each country regardless of size should have a role in accordance with its resources and capabilities, because terrorism, extremism and radicalism knows no borders," according to him
The Serbian minister pointed out that his country "immediately joined international activities" to deal with the Islamic State, and as a member of the Global Coalition, co-sponsored Resolution 2178 of the UN Security Council and changed its Criminal Code in order to prevent departure or transit across its territory of persons joining wars in other countries.
Dacic said that Serbian citizens are leaving to fight in the ranks of the Islamic State, mostly of from the Raska District (Sandzak) and from Kosovo, but that the number of foreign fighters from Serbia is relatively small compared to the total number of those who joined the Islamic State from abroad. This number, he said was about one hundred, and although small, was "not negligible."
In order to fight Islamophobia, he said, efforts must be made to integrate citizens of all faiths and political beliefs into a modern society based on common values.
"Consideration of the place of Islam in today's modern European society deserves special attention as does fostering a culture of interfaith dialogue in order to promote understanding and common values. Responsibility for this lies with the state and its institutions, religious leaders and society as a whole, in order to avoid creating fertile ground for fundamentalist objectives," Dacic said.
The Vienna conference is attended by foreign ministers Austria and the Western Balkan countries.