West needs 'soul-searching' on home-grown extremists: Iran

Western democracies should ask themselves some tough questions about why they have produced some of the extremists wreaking havoc in the world, Iran's foreign minister said today.

AFP| Updated: Mar 03, 2015, 00:54 AM IST

Geneva: Western democracies should ask themselves some tough questions about why they have produced some of the extremists wreaking havoc in the world, Iran's foreign minister said today.

In a speech before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the West of "selectivity and double standards" in its dealings with the Muslim world, suggesting a bit of "soul-searching" would be in order.

Western democracies, he said, should ponder "why quite a sizable number of individuals and groups espousing extremist ideologies and engaged in acts of brutal terror and heinous violence... Happen to be second generation citizens of Western democracies."

"It is frightening that Daesh terrorists, beheading innocent civilians, speak European languages with a native accent," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS) group.

Widespread recruitment of radicalised youths fighting with IS and other extremists groups, he warned, is a consequence of "a systematic failure, which has led to marginalisation, alienation and disenfranchisement of individuals and groups born, raised and educated in Western democracies."

Observers say some 20,000 foreign fighters have left their homelands to join extremist groups in the past few years -- including an estimated 4,000 since 2012 from western Europe.

Zarif also insisted that the "organisations of mass murder" terrorising the Middle East had initially emerged as "freedom fighters" to counter foreign interventions in a range of countries in the region.