EU urged to study Canada’s approach to radicalisation

Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre was on two-day visit to Dublin to promote trade and cultural ties

Denis Coderre: “We have a policy of multiculturalism where it’s not about keeping your identity it’s about sharing it“

Denis Coderre: “We have a policy of multiculturalism where it’s not about keeping your identity it’s about sharing it“

 

Ireland and Europe could benefit from studying Canada’s approach to preventing Islamic radicalisation of young Muslims, according to the mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre.

Speaking during a two-day visit to Dublin to promote trade and cultural ties, Mr Coderre said the migrant crisis was a particular problem for Europe because of its geography.

“Let me be blunt: I believe immigration in Europe is more illegal migration,” he said.

“When somebody from the Middle East or Africa wants to come to Europe, he still has in his mind that he will be able one day to come back [to his own country].

“When you’re going to north America, when you are going to Canada, you cross the Atlantic, there is kind of a [gap] where people say, ‘okay, I have reached a Rubicon, I’m not going to come back’.”

Mr Coderre said Canada’s policy on immigration was based on citizenship as “we are a land of immigrants”.

“We have a policy of multiculturalism where it’s not about keeping your identity, it’s about sharing it.”

He said an information and early-warning system developed in Montreal under the country’s Living Together policy, which seeks to promote tolerance, understanding and mutual respect between diverse groups, could serve a purpose in Europe.

The system operates through a Centre for Prevention of Radicalisation Leading to Violence, which opened in Montreal in March 2015. Drawing on expertise and advice from academics, psychologists and faith-based experts, the centre offers advice to anyone worried that an individual is being radicalised.

Unfounded fears

The centre aims to help those who turn to it and differentiates between unfounded fears and phobias of one form or another, and behavioural changes in a person indicating possible radicalisation that could lead to aggression.

“Out of 800 calls [to date], 10 files were transferred to the police and some of them were accurate and we prevented them going to Syria,” Mr Coderre said in an interview.

“The most important thing is prevention instead of reaction – meaning awareness, education and training.”

Mr Coderre, who is visiting seven European cities, was in Dublin as a guest of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce, and hopes to promote links between Dublin and Montreal through city twinning, the creation of a direct air route and trade.

He visited the Dublin-based video games company Keywords International, which employs 350 people in Montreal, and Topaz, which was sold in December 2015 by businessman Denis O’Brien to Canadian firm Couche-Tard.