On March 23rd, 2019, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) lost its last piece of territorial Caliphate: Baghuz, a town in eastern Syria. This was a significant moment in the war against Islamist extremism. However, it did not signify either an enduring defeat for ISIS nor the ideology of Islamism. In Europe, for example, there have been – on average – two Islamist terror plots or attacks per month since ISIS relinquished its Caliphate.
Fifteen years on from the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks and huge progress has been made in tackling terrorism. Unfortunately, progress has been trickier to achieve in the so-called battle of ideas and there is still insufficient work being done to push back against extremist ideologies and those who promote them. The relationship between Prevent and counter extremism work has become confused and ambiguity about who the Government will and will not work with has led to inconsistent decisions being made.