News Release

EU Office Hosts Presentation on Countering Radicalisation

On February 25, 2015, in Brussels, Dr. Brian Grim, President of the Business & Religious Freedom Foundation, presented a new interfaith approach to counter radicalisation within communities at risk. The event was hosted by the European Union Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and brought together representatives from belief communities, NGOs and civil society organizations. The presentation was introduced by Elder Timothy Dyches, Second Counselor in the Europe Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Brian Grim began his presentation by sharing his personal experiences in China, Europe, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He described how his perspective developed following the attack on the US embassy in Teheran of 1979. At that time Iranian students in the US faced hostilities for something they didn’t do, and he realized that the only radical response to radicalism and hate was “radical love.” 

He shared some of the findings in his sociological research showing, for example, that more than eight-in-ten people in the world follow a religion, and among the 16% who don’t, many of them have some religious beliefs or engage in some religious practices. According to Pew Research studies, religious freedom is restricted in two main ways: by government repression and by social hostilities.

Moving into the details of the initiatives, Dr. Grim explained that radicalisation, especially among young people raised in Western democracies is often caused by marginalisation, poverty, unemployment, lack of vision and education. At the core of Dr. Grim’s initiative is the cooperation of leading interfaith groups, business schools and educational institutions to adapt the Latter-day Saints “Self-Reliance Curriculum” into a toolkit for interfaith use and application.

The curriculum would promote self-reliance as a way of life, and help people make a conscious, active effort to provide for their own needs and those of their families. The programme would follow the six themes for a balanced life laid out in “Self-Reliance Curriculum”: education, health, employment, family home production and stewardship, family finances, and spiritual strength. Interfaith training teams of volunteers from both local business as well as faith or belief communities will be the genius of this initiative. Having both is a unique and an essential component of the programme in that involving people with real business know-how together with people of diverse faiths and beliefs helps give real alternatives to radical narratives that grow under conditions of isolation and desperation.

Dr. Grim's presentation was introduced by Elder Timothy Dyches, who shared the foundational values of the self-reliance toolkit developed by the Church, which is at the core of Dr. Grim’s initiative. The toolkit is used worldwide by Latter-day Saints professionals and volunteers to empower those struggling financially or with unemployment to become self-reliant, and to provide for themselves and their families. He said “The programme really has been created to give people hope and a desire to live and grow. It is far easier to be radicalised if they cannot. We desire them to have a better alternative, to give them the chance to have hope and a desire to develop and support self and family.”

Those interested in knowing more about this initiative can contact the European Union Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at

The European Union Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brussels works with and fosters dialogue among EU stakeholders, including opinion leaders, academics, religious and political leaders engaged in freedom of religion or belief, humanitarian assistance, volunteerism and youth. It is also a member of the European Platform on Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID), a network of civil society organisations, including religious and non-religious associations, that aims to contribute to the collective promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief in the world as defined by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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