A Sordid Reality

There is something disturbing about the Harvey Weinstein case as someone who has finally been revealed as one of the most predatory monsters of the Hollywood scene. There is a litany of cases, settlements and how silence was bought, stretching back at least thirty years. Weinstein, now confined to the dustbin of history, reputation in tatters, […]

Rumours, sectarianism and trust

In the early hours of Saturday morning in Small Heath, Birmingham, a young boy was brutally attacked, leaving him in a critical condition in hospital, fighting for his life. As news of the attack broke on Saturday afternon, rumours quickly circulated that this was an act of sectarian violence, with hot-headed young Sunnis behaving aggressively […]

Leaving ‘The State’

I have now managed to watch all four episodes of The State. I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my thoughts and observations. First, one must state at the outset that watching this programme was not easy. But while there is clearly some attempt to normalise existence, with depictions of life as wholesome […]

Inside ‘The State’

I watched the first episode of The State on Channel 4, aired on 20 August. I was mildly satisfied with the details in relation to aspects of life in the so-called Islamic State, but, after all, it a drama, which means that fictionalisation is necessary in order to introduce character development and change. While some reporting suggests […]

What Academic Freedom in Turkey

In January 2016, the group called Academics for Peace issued a petition. It is an initiative run predominantly by intellectuals in Turkey concerned with the need to prevent further conflict in south-east Turkey, supporting the return to a peace process as soon as possible. This particular petition, however, dubbed ‘we will not be party to this […]

Islamophobia as the cause of far right extremism

Much of the media and political responses to the Finsbury Park attack have been lame. This is because Islamophobia has been normalised in Britain. I argue that this Islamophobia is fuelled by the media, acting as a driver of far right extremism inasmuch as far right extremism thrives on Islamist radicalisation. Arguably, Darren Osborne would […]

Responding Strongly to Terror

It was another night in London and another terrorist attack on the UK. Last night witnessed a horrific act of brutality and violence. This time it was at the hands of three assailants, who started their deadly assault at 2208 on London Bridge by driving their van into innocent civilians. These attackers then moved to […]

Preventing spinning plates from falling

Last night I did a rare thing. I felt I had to. I switched on the television to watch segments of Newsnight, Question Time and This Week, all of which focused on the implications raised by the Manchester attack. It was a ‘Prevent’-fest. On these programmes were people from all backgrounds, variously emotionally and intellectually […]

Can terrorism ever be defeated?

Reports emerging this morning reflect on instances of radicalisation among the Libyan community in Manchester. Although this not a group that has raised any interest among security services in the past, Manchester has the third highest concentration of British Muslims after London and Birmingham. As these other cities also demonstrate, these concentrations tend to be […]

Murder in Manchester

It is always disconcerting to wake up to the news of terrorism, causalities, pictures of screaming children, ambulances, solemn looking police officers making official comments, and jumpy radio and television journalists speaking on the topic. The scenes from the Manchester concert hall suggest utter carnage, fear and shock. These images will have reverberated around the […]

What future now?

Waking up on a Saturday morning, there is always the experience of getting up early, sinking a strong coffee with breakfast and open-endedly reading the pages of news stories while thinking through how to best utilise the weekend. The themes of Brexit, Europe, the upcoming UK General Election and the recent local elections fill many […]

‘Prevent’ and Communities: the ongoing gaps

How can we ensure differing approaches to preventing and countering radicalisation include effective critical community engagement? This was the question put to me by the conference organisers of the Counter Terror Expo at the Olympia in London, 3-4 May 2017. I was asked to prepare a talk to respond to this challenge. The following is […]

Turkey in Conflict Today

Dear friends and colleagues, thank you for taking the time to be here this morning at the official launch of my new book, Contemporary Turkey in Conflict, published a few short months ago. I also want to thank RUSI for graciously hosting this launch, and my good friend and colleague, Dr Elshimi, for kindly agreeing […]

Beyond the UN PVE Action Plan

Full text of my talk on the panel, ‘Preventing Violent Extremism Global Policy and Practice: The Current State of Play, with Sara Zeiger (Hedayah), and moderated by Candace Rondeaux (RESOLVE), Preventing Violent Extremism: The case for locally defined, evidenced based responses, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, convened by RESOLVE and Institute for Security Studies, 20 April.   […]

In the Wake of Terror, Freedoms Matter Most

The last major terrorist incident in the UK was the Al-Qaida-inspired 7/7 bombings in 2005. It was a sophisticated, coordinated attack that resulted in 52 killed and hundreds maimed. New Labour was faced with an unfamiliar situation. It had no clear sense of what was needed except that the ‘rules had changed’. Fast-forward to 2017, […]

Promoting Values Does Not Solve Terrorism

In thinking through the processes of radicalisation in relation to Muslim minorities, what are the key issues that should be important to us? That is, what do we need to ask ourselves at the very beginning? The problem has been that right from the outset various so-called experts have been looking at the inspirations that […]

Terror in London

Terror in London. Again. After Nantes, Nice, Berlin, Istanbul and Jerusalem, an attack on London, sadly, seemed inevitable. This time a British-born lone attacker mows down civilians on Westminster Bridge before he makes his way to Parliament and fatally stabs a respected unarmed police officer, PC Keith Palmer. The assailant was then shot down by […]

Engaging Communities against the Spectre of Terrorism

The spectre of violent extremism carried out by groups whose motivations are to create terror and alarm among populations as a whole continues to create serious challenges for law enforcement agencies whose aims are to fairly and justly convict and incarcerate individuals guilty of heinous crimes. Simultaneously, there are groups who wish to support their […]

On Violent Extremism

Full text of my talk on the ‘violent extremism’ panel, The Wilberforce Society Annual Conference 2017: Global Disenchantment, St John’s College, Cambridge, 4 February.   The Wilberforce Society, my fellow panellists and to you the audience, many thanks indeed for the kind invitation and the opportunity to be with you here today. In the ten […]

White Out(Rage): Trump, Islam and Whiteness

It is going to be a very difficult time under Trump. Behind his victory is the intersection of two sets of processes. Both rich and poor white groups believe that their privileges are disappearing in the light of globalisation, immigration and diversity.(1) Trump voters feel comfortable expressing their latent racism, believing it is a legitimate […]

2016: annus horribilis

At the start of 2016, no one could have predicted the impact or the scale of the events that would occur during the year. In reality, it has been a catalogue of a most surprising range of outcomes. David Bowie, Prince, George Michael and Leonard Cohen, all giants of the popular music scene, forever gone. […]