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The Muslim Council of Britain's secretary-general, Dr Shuja Shafi: He has said he has "no idea" why young people become radicalised (Philip Toscano/PA Wire)

With Islamist terrorist plots now running at more than one a month, the UK counter-terrorism effort can deal only with the crocodiles that are bumping against the boat. So the Home Office is setting up a special unit that will analyse the effectiveness of government measures aimed at "draining the swamp" as the Prime Minister has put it.

The Extremism Analysis Unit (EAU) will be the first of its kind in government to gather empirical evidence about the behaviour and ideologies of extremists. In some ways, this may be even more challenging than the task performed by its companion unit—the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), which analyses intelligence on the terrorist threat. While JTAC's job is to stop terrorists from killing, the EAU will analyse the extremist spectrum from its violent to its non-violent end. It will also explore the relationship between integration and extremism. 

Many Muslims in Birmingham, Luton, parts of London and the old northern mill towns seem resistant to integrating into the liberal mainstream. More British Muslims have gone to Syria and Iraq than there are Muslims in the British army. I understand that officials have been unable to demonstrate that any initiatives by this government or the last to promote integration have had any beneficial impact.

The EAU will attract controversy because while it will, of course, analyse all sources of extremism, its principal focus will inevitably be on Islamist extremism, because this will pose the greatest threat to national security for the foreseeable future.

The reaction here to the slaughter of 17 people in Paris offers a glimpse into why extremism presents a generational challenge. The journalists and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo magazine were executed for lampooning the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews shopping on the eve of Shabbat just because they were Jews. Paris probably inspired the Danish jihadist last month to target a Copenhagen synagogue killing a Jewish guard after killing a film director at a free speech debate hosted by Lars Vilks the Swedish cartoonist who has also sent up the Prophet.

How do you persuade those British mosques in London and the Midlands reported to have expressed greater offence over Charlie Hebdo's cartoons than the fate of the massacred that such attitudes won't create the common life required for a cohesive, harmonious society? Rather than demonstrate around the Cenotaph against global jihadi terrorism, 1,000 Muslims instead waved banners warning non-Muslims to "be careful with Muhammad", and telling them to "learn some manners". 

"Whether Muslim people say it or not, deep down they are probably happy with what happened," the Muslim manager of a small supermarket in Slough told the BBC Today programme. "Not in the sense of people having lost their lives . . . but in the sense that something needs to be done to stop insulting our Prophet." The reporter pressed him. "Are you really saying what's happened [in Paris] has taught those who insult Islam a lesson?" He replied: "To be honest, it's not as if people are going to be jumping around the streets for joy but (it's also) not as if people are going to be mourning their deaths, in my opinion." Some mosque congregations are also reported to have been told that the killers simply could not have been Muslims. Mossad then? 9/11 déjà vu.

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John Pedler
April 27th, 2015
1:04 PM
Unfortunately too few non Muslims know anything much about Islam and, alas, this applies to many Muslims too!Yet in the present crisis it is most important to know why are the beliefs that cause 'jihadism'. To make any real progress we will have to accept that the US and the UK have done a great deal to cause murderous extremism. The Bush Blair invasion of Iraq is only one of many causes - though it is probably the main one. We in the US and UK in particular have made too many enemies! Something we will have to publicly accept if jihadism is to be countered. Regrettably this is difficult when scholarly 'higher criticism of the Koran and Hadith is so life threatening!

March 3rd, 2015
3:03 AM
Insightful article, though it doesn't scratch the surface of the world of 'non-violent' Islamism. Nothing is said about the two interlocking strands of the Jamaat-i-Islami and Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups and how they collectively comprise a singular web of radical activism, which stretches out into schools and mosques and reaches into various governmental departments. Ware does commendable work but he is wrong that Haitham Haddad is not radical. Radicalism ought not be defined in terms of the direct advocation of violence but in terms of subversive intent. There is every bit of that in the non-violent programme of Islamists like him to usher in a social transformation in the West in the name of Islam.

February 26th, 2015
9:02 AM
Excellent article - many thanks

February 26th, 2015
3:02 AM
an interesting fact that the report by Kundani and sponsored by the Haddad linked website seeking to make mainstream the Salafi supremacist ideology was launched at the House of Commons and one of the men promoting it was Peter Oborne, who is the author of an article in this edition of Standpoint. Islamists have their friends not only on the multiculturalist left, but also amongst conservatives like Oborne.

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