Full Version: Policy development - Countering Islamic radicalisation
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The Bastille Day tragedy in France has again brought the subject of Islamic radicalisation to the fore in the debate on tackling middle-east orientated terrorism.

All religions are known for their historical excesses, and Islamic orientated terrorism is a challenge of our time.

When addressing the issue of radicalisation, we must first accept the hard truth that there are religious, ethnic and cultural aspects to the challenge, which simply can’t be ignored on the grounds of perceived racism or political correctness towards anything Islamic.

Middle-eastern cultures are more religious orientated than most western cultures. Hence the proliferation of Mosques, something they do share in common with the Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths whilst such institutions as the Church of England are in decline.

They are also more family and community centric and integration into a wider secular society is an issue. The rise of faith schools could be seen as an obstacle to deeper integration into the wider secular society, contributing to the creation of in effect cultural ghettos.

Whilst security services can detect and neutralise most organised acts, the so called ‘lone wolf’ syndrome is a barely articulated nightmare. This is attacks such as those on Lee Rigby or the Bastille Day celebrations, where the perpetrators are unknown or virtually unknown and often citizens of a host country.

The first question is what turns people against their own nation and fellow citizens? 

Preserved domestic injustices and international conflict have alienated some youth. An inability to influence events or take part in the political debate has led to frustration.

Failure to integrate and the creations of insular communities is another aspect. People unwilling to leave their own communities, either because of cultural ties or language barriers need to be addressed.

There is a contrast between Eastern European and middle-eastern residents where by both have settled in this country, creating very closed communities, but have reacted differently to the wider secular culture.

History shows that where minorities reach 25% in an area there is often the danger of violent clashes. We need to address the issue of the creation of insular ghettos which contribute to the cultural divide.

It is easy to harm somebody when you do not speak their language, and do not understand their anguish or point of view. Therefore language integration is an important issue.

Radical material is widely available on the Internet, and closing down its availability challenges both the expression of free speech, and the open nature of the Internet. Similarly social media has played a prominent role in connecting up like minded individuals.

Schemes to tackle radicalisation are long term, requiring almost open ended commitments of resources, something politicians with a short-term mentality and agenda are not well equipped to absorb. 

The easiest route to tackling Islamic radicalisation is a policy of engagement in the community, schools and civic society. It should not be simply seen as a heart’s and mind campaign as this would imply the imposition of a point of view, not a meeting of minds and cultures.

They require the reaching out to communities and religions and discussing sensitive subjects as International relations and foreign policy, as well as clashes of culture.

The reluctance of some Imams to condemn violence, such as the murder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Glaswegian shopkeeper should be tackled head-on. Islam is fractured into multiple strands, Sunni and Shia, with many smaller sects viewed with disdain or open hostility.

Religious and communities should be challenged to disown those who advocate hate crime against white Christians or minority groups such as LGBT. A failure to do so both encourages further intolerance, and reinforces the negative perceptions of Islam.

Where necessary the rule of law should apply, irrespective of race or religion, to any group of individual promoting intolerance or violent to the detriment of other groups in society.
I fully endorse the sentiments contained in this proposal. As has been recognised there is no quick and easy solution to countering Islamic radicalisation, and I do not think in any way the focus should simply be on Muslims, but radicalisation within all faiths and communities. What the hate mongers want is for a polarisation of views on both sides with the outcome being a race war or jihad.

In terms of radicalisation of Muslims our first priority must be foreign policy. The biggest recruitment tool for radicalisation is seeing bombs and bullets from Britain, the US and its allies being used in Muslim countries. When mistakes happen (as they do) groups such as Islamic State bombard social media with images. As we all know 'a picture paints a thousand words'. Add this to racial abuse and discrimination towards Muslims in this country and sympathies and recruitment are secured. Therefore we have to remove our forces from Muslim countries and make the case for UN peace keeping forces consisting of personnel from Muslim countries. In addition to this Britain must make it clear its reason for intervention was to bring peace. Where this has failed or where mistakes have been made we need to apologise.

Secondly we need to work with organisations such as Upstanding Neighbourhoods who are active within their communities in opposing radicalisation and working for greater integration.