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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Berlin, Ankara and Zurich…

In the space of a few short hours, three separate terrorist incidents shocked the world. It might be incumbent upon the thinking individual to suggest some sort of pattern here or to determine the links between these different events to put forward an overarching paradigm, but it would also be foolhardy and somewhat disingenuous. In […]

Raving Brexiteers

It has been nearly four months since the Brexit vote split the country in two, with a tiny margin of leavers gaining the upper hand. It will lead the country on a path to leaving the European Union as soon as Article 50 is triggered, which is likely to be in the first quarter of […]

‘It Was Xenophobia Wot Won It’

Now that was a surprise. Britain has voted to leave the EU. It turned out to have been a clear split between working class communities in de-industrialised areas and the urban educated metropolitan liberal-minded ‘Guardian’ readers in the south. It shows how divided Britain is – and how out of touch Westminster is with the […]

‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’

I feel rather outraged about how this whole Leave-Remain debate has unfolded. From what has started as a ridiculous spat between two right-wing elements of the Tory party, recently going back to the days of Norman Lamont and his infamous speech in 1995, Britain is about to make a historical non-reversible decision that will have […]

Far Right Extremism and Islamic Political Radicalism

The recent tragic murder of Jo Cox MP has brought to the surface major concerns in relation to far-right extremism in Britain today. Although much within media and political discourses focuses on Islamic political extremism, there is little attention given to far-right violence. Moreover, these acts are no aberration either. Rather, various reporting necessarily suggests […]

Privilege = More Privilege

A Princeton University professor recently published his CV of failures as a way in which to inspire his undergraduate students with the dictum, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try try again’. It has received considerable attention, with some describing it as ‘beautiful’ while others deconstruct its meaning to suggest that a CV of failures could […]

Here and there but still nowhere

There are times when the ‘where are you from’ question is essentially about whether you are seen as a threat to the imagined identity of the questioner. I am currently the city of Karlsruhe, in south-west of Germany, getting ready to return to Istanbul, and having spent yesterday debating migration, identity and the question of […]