The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) welcomes the publication of ‘The Edge of Violence‘ by DEMOS, which suggests a ‘radical’ approach to tackling home grown terrorism. The report which defines ‘radical’ as the ‘rejection of the status quo’ lays bare the myth that radicalisation is a linear path to violence and terrorism. As the report argues; ‘differentiating between types of radicalisation is extremely important because targeting the wrong people can breed resentment and alienation and erode the freedoms Western governments want to preserve’.
Using a combination of literature reviews and interviews across 5 countries (UK, Canada, Denmark, France and the Netherlands), the report seeks to cast light on how and why some types of radicalisation develop into violence and others do not; how the different types relate to each other and what implications this has for social and security policy. The report comes up with the following 3 recommendations stakeholders will find useful in addressing the challenges in question: encouraging positive activism, demystifying and de-glamourising Al-Qaeda as a structure and an ideology and encouraging a greater role for the involvement of non-governmental actors.
Commenting on this, Anas Altikriti, Chief Executive of TCF said: “This report is timely because it reminds us of the key complex issues that we are facing. Unfortunately, the discussions that have emerged from the weekend following David Cameron’s speech in Munich have been focused on one aspect: the failure of multiculturalism. It is all very well to abrogate responsibility to a single issue, but the real issue is that problems are not one-dimensional and do not belong to just one community. Social problems cannot be viewed through a security lens. We welcome DEMOS’ recommendation in particular that space needs to be provided for discussions and dialogue to take place in order to counter some of the established narratives”.
TCF believes that the issues facing the Muslim communities – both internally and externally- are multi layered and replicated in other immigrant ethnic and faith communities and thus cannot simply be written off as a failure of multiculturalism. Adequate attention needs to be paid first to normalising social structures whilst at the same time providing a space for establishing dialogue and facilitating partnerships that will give communities the confidence they need to address their real concerns. This needs the involvement of all stakeholders in society without exception to ensure the promotion of respect, understanding and acceptance of diversity.
This is indeed the challenge for the Big Society to overcome.