14:03 GMT +323 September 2017
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    Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj

    Family Values Fight Radicalization Among Muslim Youth - Indian Minister

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    Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told parliament that India has been able to thwart the growth of radicalization among Muslim youth due to its cultural ethos and family bonding and the government’s de-radicalization programs. She said India is set to host an ASEAN conference on deradicalization and terrorism.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Swaraj said this in her reply to a question in parliament on Wednesday. She said though the growing radicalization among Muslim youths is becoming an issue for Indian authorities, it has not taken epidemic proportions.

    According to Swaraj, 50 radicalized Indian youth have crossed over to the “other” side although she did not specify where they went. She said radicalization is not a Jammu and Kashmir-specific problem and many other states are also plagued by it. It is a global phenomenon, said Swaraj.

    What helps India, however, is “secularism, the watchful eyes of parents and the belief that violence is not good,” she said in her reply. This has been backed by an anti-radicalization program with states to ensure youths are not misled.

    Agreeing with Swaraj that strong family ties and value systems act as a check among Muslim youth,  defence expert Qamar Agha said parents have become a constant source of information and support for the government against anti-social groups spreading misinformation.

    "Parents, who are worried or suspicious about the activities of their children, contact authorities and take institutional help in deradicalization. They have been our biggest strength and partners. Considering the role of Pakistan in spreading misinformation and anti-India propaganda, 50 youth getting radicalized is a very small number," he told Sputnik.

    Tourists look at their camera after taking a picture near the UNESCO World Heritage site Taj Mahal in Agra
    © AFP 2017/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
    On a supplementary question about the ASEAN conference, Swaraj said the meet will not discuss topics concerning the South China Sea.

    India’s pluralistic society and competitive democracy help address grievances of the minority community, said Devesh Kapur, director, Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania.

    “While India is home to one of the world’s largest Muslim communities, its members have remained absent from anxious global conversations about militant Islam. This may reflect, at least partly, (on) India’s pluralistic society and competitive democracy – a system in which almost all communities have felt included, even if their odds of winning have been low,” he said in an article for Project Syndicate.

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    radicalization, youth, Muslim, Sushma Swaraj, India
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