EU eyes body to train imams against 'ideology of hatred'

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FILE PHOTO: EU leaders hold a virtual conference on measures against COVID-19
FILE PHOTO: EU leaders hold a virtual conference on measures against COVID-19

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union should quickly set up a new body to oversee the training of imams and make sure their messages to Muslim followers do not contribute to spreading an "ideology of hatred", a top European Union official said on Monday.

Charles Michel's remarks come a day before he will attend a video conference on the "European response to terrorism" organised by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Europe has suffered two Islamist militants attacks over the past 10 days, carried out by assailants in the Austrian capital Vienna and the French Riviera city of Nice.

"To fight the ideology of hatred, we need to set up as soon as possible a European institute to train imams in Europe," Michel, who heads the European Council comprising the EU's 27 heads of government, said in a Twitter message.

"Online messages glorifying terrorism must be quickly removed. There must be no impunity for terrorists and those praising them on internet," he added.

On Friday, EU interior ministers will hold a regular meeting in which they are expected to discuss the recent attacks and new measures to prevent them.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Mark Heinrich)