Across the Mediterranean National Parliaments are today celebrating the Mediterranean Day, established in Morocco in 2008 on the occasion of the 3rd PAM Plenary Session.
The theme chosen for 2017 is “The Role of Education against radicalization and extremism”.
There is widespread agreement on the growing importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue as powerful tools for achieving stability and peace, and to fight intolerance and extremism, while defending the values of peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding. Furthermore, the need to place this dialogue as a central objective in a renewed multilateral political approach to the Mediterranean is also recognised.
Education and training of youth and religious leaders play a central role as fundamental instruments to curb the scourge of violent extremism, which often leads to terrorism. In this respect, there is a dire need for the modernization of reflection and theological discourse, as well as of school curricula. Common values, such as the fundamental rights of democracy and the rule of law, recognition of human dignity, stand at the basis of a peaceful and harmonious coexistence of people of different cultures and religions on both shores of the Mediterranean.
On the occasion of the PAM 3rd Standing Committee events in Rome (15.12.2016) dedicated to “Dialogue in the encounter between cultures and religions: the role of politics and education and in Rabat (09.02.2017) on Countering terrorism and violent extremism in the Mediterranean: What cooperation between the two shores? (Morocco as an example) a call was made to increase vigilance by strengthening prevention and education activities aimed at the groups considered as the most vulnerable to extremism.
In this context parliamentarians have a duty to assume their own responsibilities on behalf of their fellow citizens and to openly and clearly oppose all forms of intolerance, racism and hatred.
More has to be done for the protection and safeguarding of the freedom of each individual to practice one’s own faith and called on schools and cultural institutions to implement initiatives aimed at removing young people from all forms of violence and of notions of hatred, and to train them on the basis of the principle of tolerance.
PAM has undertaken to stimulate the parliamentary debate on a regional level and has made various proposals to both the United Nations General Assembly and National Parliaments, through its reports and resolutions dedicated to such issues.