COMMENTARY

To combat far right, government must first understand how it ticks

It has been two years since Brenton Tarrant’s grisly attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. By the end of his rampage, Tarrant had murdered 51 Muslims. In the aftermath, Ben Wallace, who was the UK security minister, warned that something similar “absolutely could happen here”. So far, thankfully, it has not. Still, Neil Basu, the head of counter-terrorism policing, has said that the far right is the fastest growing terror threat the country faces and is responsible for approximately 10 per cent of counter-terrorism police caseloads. The need to combat the far right also features prominently in CONTEST,...

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COMMENTARY

The UK must consider further action on Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is a registered charity which was founded in the UK in 1984 but now has branches in over 40 countries. Its stated focus is humanitarian work and delivering aid. Egyptian co-founder, Hany el-Banna, summarises their mission as being to add “Islamic values to the international community of humanitarian organisations”. However, IRW has had to fight to defend its reputation in recent years after being put under the spotlight by some of the UK’s closest allies regarding what they claim are its links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood network and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. IRW fiercely...

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COMMENTARY

Now the Prevent programme is in safe hands

The UK has suffered repeated terrorist attacks in recent years. At least one of the perpetrators was on the radar of Prevent, the UK government’s strategy to stop people from carrying out or supporting acts of terrorism. Prevent plays a key part in keeping the UK safe from terrorist atrocities. Those facts may seem contradictory, but all of the above can be true at the same time. Prevent is the safeguarding programme for dealing with individuals who exhibit signs of becoming involved in terrorist activity. It focuses on all forms of terrorism, but the two most prominent threats currently facing the...

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COMMENTARY

William Shawcross is the right person to review Prevent

William Shawcross was this week appointed as the Independent Reviewer of Prevent. The Prevent review, that aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, was announced in January 2019 by then security minister Ben Wallace. It was a concession granted by Theresa May’s government to some of Prevent’s critics in order to ensure parliamentary support for its Counter-terrorism and Border Security Bill. Shawcross is a smart appointment to take up this task. Here are three reasons why. Firstly, Shawcross recognises the threat posed by terrorism and has done more than most to bring attention to the challenges it poses to liberal...

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COMMENTARY

CCIF and the East London Mosque

The East London Mosque (ELM) is an influential institution. Go to its website today and you see a September 2020 visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; a BBC documentary about the mosque; and a virtual interfaith iftar attended by various dignitaries, including multiple MPs. It has hosted a series of other high-profile figures in the past, including multiple Mayors of London. It was described by Ed Husain in his 2007 book The Islamist as a “strategically placed institution at the heart of the densest population of Muslims in Britain”. The ELM has also long been associated with South Asian...

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