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 […]

Enter Trump

The American voting public has just elected Donald Trump as the next President of the USA. Here is why it is a disaster. He is a serial business failure. He would be worth twice as much if he left his father’s inheritance alone. He is a serial groper, harasser and misogynist. He mocks the disabled. […]

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 […]

How Brexit Unleashed the Dragon

After endless articles and discussion pieces written on the reasons why one-third of the British population voted to Leave the EU in the recent referendum, there is still reason to explore some of the over-arching concerns implied by this eventuality. Renowned Oxford University geographer Professor Danny Dorling argues that years of austerity and inequality have […]

A Broken Britain on the Brink

After the 2008 global financial crash, it was clear that Britain was going bust for a generation. Bankers caused it by exploiting loopholes created by New Labour’s deregulation of the financial markets. When the immediate solution was to shore up the assets of the banks, the government should have left the banks to fall while […]

The Ironies of Brexit

Less educated middle-aged and elderly white folk in smaller towns and cities were most likely to vote leave but are least likely to benefit in the end. Brexit has brought to the surface layers of racism and the ‘ghosts of empire’. England has given into hate and bigotry, not openness and tolerance. Brexit could trigger inflation, […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

The Impact of the Islamic State and Turkey’s Civil Society

Full text of my presentation, ‘The Impact of the Islamic State and Turkey’s Civil Society’. Paper present to TASAM (Turkish-Asian Centre for Strategic Studies) Fourth International Middle East Congress, ‘Turkish-Arab Relations: Multi-Dimensional Security Building’, Hatay, 27-29 April. Thank you, madam chair. Hello, good morning and welcome. I would like to thank the conference organisers for the kind […]

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 […]

Getting Away With It

There are many Muslims working in the radicalisation-deradicalisation industry in an effort to eliminate the problems of extremism, but it is merely a ruse for blasé thinking and legitimising the existing state of affairs. Here is my top ten list of reasons why. They say they are Muslims, which gives them some credibility among non-Muslims, […]

No Freedom, No Speech

Yesterday afternoon, the AKP moved in on Turkey’s biggest selling daily newspaper group, Zaman and Today’s Zaman in English, calling in the administrators, placing the news outlet under the authority of the government. The silencing of so-called dissenting media voices has occurred systematically over the years, leading to charges of authoritarianism, the abuse of power […]

The Trauma of Suffering

As I write the final few thousand words for my next book, which is on the condition of Islam, politics and ethnicity in contemporary Turkey, and as I read countless pages of news, opinion and blog posts rarely read by others this morning, I feel a sense of foreboding concerning the state of the world. […]

Lazy Cameron Speaks the Language of Racialism

It is reasonably encouraging that the British Prime Minister wishes to fund the teaching of English language to British Muslim women who have been left behind by ‘progress’, as it were, but the backdrop to his statements are however deeply problematic, as well the implications they raise. In the 1950s, British ‘coloured immigrants’, as they […]

“You ain’t no Muslim, bruv”

Another day and another attack, this time by a deranged young man on three innocent victims in a tube station in east London. Witnesses allege that he screamed ‘this is for Syria’ before attacking his victims, one of which is critically injured. Videos on Twitter have gone viral, and newspaper outlets are reporting that this […]

Now you see me, now you don’t

When you look straight towards me What does your mind think you see Averting your gaze in buried fear Or do you prolong a brooding stare Am I exotic and dangerous together Or an alluring but sinister aggressor Am I a threat to your familiar ways Do you dread your looming days Am I not […]