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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Time to Fly

As I sit here at the airport gate on my way back to England after nearly six years in Istanbul, the feelings are more numb-like than I would have imagined. It is partly to do with the fact that over the last two weeks or so I have been making all sorts of arrangements to […]

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 […]

‘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 […]