Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 16, 2005

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Islamic Extremism in Europe
Gallegly Schedules Wednesday Hearing to Examine Threats Islamic Extremists Pose to U.S.

BACKGROUND:  Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, many U.S. officials are concerned that Europe could be a launching point for future attacks by Islamic extremists on the United States and U.S. interests abroad.  Excluding Turkey, it is estimated that between 15 and 20 million Muslims live in Europe.  While the vast majority of these European Muslims are not involved in radical activities, Islamic extremists and vocal fringe communities who advocate terrorism do exist, especially in Western Europe.  Germany and Spain were identified as key logistical and planning bases for the attacks of 9/11, and numerous arrests were also made in Belgium, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.  The failure of European governments, some claim, to fully integrate Muslim communities into mainstream European society leaves some Muslims vulnerable to extremist ideologies.  Some also believe that the U.S. response to 9/11 and the war in Iraq have led to the radicalization of more European Muslims, as the “War on Terrorism” is sometimes viewed as a war on Islam.  European governments have sought to contain Islamist extremists and counter those who pose terrorist threats by tightening security measures and reforming immigration and asylum laws to prevent Islamist radicals from gaining footholds in their countries.  The United States welcomes these European initiatives and is working in concert with European allies to place increasing emphasis on cooperation in the areas of border control and transport security.  Experts on Europe and terrorism will appear before the Subcommittee to testify to the obstacles facing the United States and means to overcome them. 

WHAT:                         Subcommittee on Europe and Emerging Threats Hearing:
                                      Islamic Extremism in Europe

                                      U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Chairman

WHEN:                         1:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 27, 2005

WHERE:                       Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:               Peter Bergen, Fellow, The New American Foundation;
                                      Matthew Levitt
, Director, Terrorism Studies Program, The Washington Institute;
                                      Lorenzo Vidino
, Deputy Director, The Investigative Project;
                                      Claude Moniquet
, Director General, European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center


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