Janet Napolitano’s had this to say in assessment of domestic security this week: “These recent arrests should remove any remaining comfort that some might have had that if we fight the terrorist abroad, we won’t have to fight them here,” she said. “If only the world were that simple. The fact is that home-based terrorism is here. We are seeing young Americans who are inspired by al-Qaida and radical ideology.”
The communities secretary, John Denham, is to attempt a fresh start in the government’s relationship with British Muslims after acknowledging that mistakes have been made in the drive against violent extremism in the UK.
Denham said he wanted to see a clear policy shift away from defining the government’s relationship with Muslim communities entirely in terms of tackling extremism. New, revised guidance on the operation of the £45m Prevent strategy, which is intended to challenge violent extremist ideology and disrupt those who promote it, is to be drawn up this summer.
The new approach is expected to ensure that funding goes to a wider range of organisations, while a more explicit strategy to resist white racist extremism is also being developed.
The MI5 briefing note, Understanding Radicalisation and Violent Extremism in the UK, seen by the Guardian provides a unique insight into current thinking within the security service about how a modern-day British terrorist is made. The analysis, based on hundreds of case studies of those involved in or closely associated with terrorism, concludes that there is no single pathway to extremism. All had taken strikingly different journeys to violent extremist activity. However the security service does say that most individuals in the sample had some vulnerability in their background that made them receptive to extremist ideology. For most, radicalisation takes months or years with no one becoming a terrorist overnight, and it is always driven by contact with others. Exposure to extremist ideology, whether in the form of online communities, books, or DVDs, although crucial, is never enough on its own. Personal interaction is essential, in most cases, to draw individuals into violent extremist networks. Alan Travis reports.
A nationwide “deradicalisation” programme is being developed to tackle people who have been drawn into Islamist violent extremism in Britain, the government will reveal today. The Home Office said the strategy was needed to help bring back those who had “already crossed the line” in terms of ideology and outlook, but not yet committed any clear criminal offence. The local schemes involved so far aim to reverse the process of radicalisation possibly through mentoring those involved: “Nationally we are developing a UK deradicalisation programme,” says the government’s new strategy document on preventing violent extremism published today. “That involves learning from overseas, from other professions, and through pilot programmes. We recognise that more specialised techniques are likely to be necessary but a key element of this approach is for local partners to identify and work with organisations that may be able to provide this capacity.” It cites the example of a community based programme in Leicester that is already mentoring “vulnerable individuals” using techniques including encouraging them to feel more valued and to eradicate myths and assumptions which have led to them becoming alienated and disempowered. Alan Travis reports.
They once plotted insurrection in Britain. Young, middle-class, and angry, they were the vanguard of a generation of disaffected Muslims that, at its most extreme, gave rise to the July 7, 2005, transportation bombers. But now, in one of the most visible assaults on political Islam from within the British Muslim community, a network of ex-radicals launched on Tuesday a movement to fight the same ideology that they once worked to spread.
Former Islamist radicals in Britain launched a “counter-extremism think-tank” on Tuesday, saying they wanted to reclaim Islam from the violent ideology of al Qaeda. The Quilliam Foundation, named after a 19th century English convert to Islam who established Britain’s first mosque, says it aims to expose Islamism as a false ideology and help Muslims develop a tolerant modern brand of Western Islam. Its director Maajid Nawaz is a former international recruiter for Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir who spent four years in an Egyptian prison for membership of that organisation. “We need to criticise the Islamist ideology and demonstrate how it’s inconsistent with traditional pluralistic and tolerant Islam,” he told Reuters. “For the first time we have former Islamists, who trained people in the Islamist ideology, who are at the forefront of this movement to say: ‘We can critique this ideology, we understand it and can refute it.'” Ed Husain, Quilliam co-director and a former student radical Islamist, said people tempted by militant ideology could be pulled back from the brink by family and peer pressure and by exposure to new ideas. Mark Trevelyan reports.
Following the terrorist attacks on London and Madrid, radical Islam is presumed to be an increasingly potent force in Europe. Yet beneath the media hysteria, very little is actually known about it. What radical movements are there? How do they operate? What is driving them? Who are their recruits? What is their relationship, if any, to Al Qaeda? Alison Pargeter has spent three years interviewing radical Islamists throughout Europe to find answers to these questions. She examines how radical ideology travels from East to West, and how the two contexts shape each other. She finds that contrary to what some analysts have claimed, the European Muslim community has not become radicalised en masse. What has happened is that in a globalised world, Middle Eastern power struggles are now being played out in the mosques of Birmingham, Paris and Milan. This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to know the real story of the jihad which has apparently arrived in our back yard.
A commission of expulsion will decide the fate of an Algerian imam, Ilyes Hacene, who has been accused of inciting an ideology of discrimination, hatred, and violence against the Jewish people and the Western world. Hacene, who has been living in France since 1999, was approached to become the imam of the main mosque in Cr_teil in 2008. A decision will be made on Monday, December 3rd.
The presence of new Catalans that express religious and cultural distinctive sensitivities are a challenge to the Catalan society. A recent symposium about Islam and Catalonia organized by the Islamic Catalan Council, debated the sentiment and the ideology behind the two parts. In Catalonia there are more than 200,000 immigrants coming from a Muslim background. Nevertheless, one must pay attention to the particular features of the Catalan society, namely its sense of autonomy and being a part of the globalized world. As such, the debate praised the need to build a society that is open to receive this cultural and social change.
Several Oklahoma lawmakers plan to return copies of the Koran to a state panel on diversity after a lawmaker claimed the Muslim holy book condones the killing of innocent people. The books were given to Oklahoma’s 149 senators and representatives by the panel, the Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council. At least 24 legislators, including Representative Rex Duncan, a Republican, have notified the panel they will return the gift. Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour, chairwoman of the council and a Muslim, denounced Mr. Duncan’s assessment of Islam. I know he referred to Islam as an ideology, Ms. Seirafi-Pour said. That is not a fact. It is a religion. It is very peaceful, very inclusive.