Filipino archbishop to UN: Win young minds in fight against terror

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MANILA, June 1, 2016– A Filipino representative of the Holy See to the United Nations has urged global leaders for a different kind of war in fighting terrorism.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Church’s permanent observer to the UN in New York, said it is something that doesn’t always fit squarely with other ideas such as military strikes.

He said it is a war of “ideologies” that needs an effective policy that “strike terrorism at its very roots and where it must primarily be fought: namely, in the hearts and minds of men and women” especially the youth.

“The Holy See is convinced that if we are to win the minds and hearts of our children and young people and prevent their joining terrorist groups, we must build inclusive societies and prevent illicit arms trafficking, build bridges rather than walls, and engage in dialogue rather than in mutual isolation,” Auza said.

He said governments should engage with civil society to protect the communities most at risk of radicalization and to achieve the “satisfactory social integration” of those areas.

Auza said young people who are who turn to terrorism often come from poor immigrant families, “disillusioned by the lack of integration and values in certain societies.”

Those who feel excluded from, or live at the fringes of, society are immediately attracted to terrorists, said the Bohol-native archbishop.

The archbishop furthered by stating that education was the most important tool in combating these of ideologies of terrorism.

“Much of the recruiting success of terror groups,” according to him, “is based on misinformation and the distortion of both history and the meaning of sacred texts.”

“Objective education would counter these false narratives,” Auza added.

The Vatican official also said that the fight against violent extremism is the responsibility of all, including the faith leaders.

He said the problem summons all religions “to unite in confronting not only the unacceptable misuse of religion by these groups, but also all forms of religious bigotry, stereotyping and disrespect for what people hold sacred.”   (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)

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