Ideology matters: why we cannot afford to ignore the role of ideology in dealing with terrorism

Expert guest for PRILiesbeth van der Heide3rd April 2018

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Michael Diamond, 04th Apr 2018 at 17:57

To support the claim that working with so-called non-violent extremists to prevent terrorism is something that has been “tried and failed”, the author links to an article by Bartlett and Miller that actually contradicts that claim.

Here’s an excerpt from the referenced article:

“Simply put, some groups or individuals that hold illiberal, even harmful views, can deliver benefits to Prevent. These are the so-called ‘non-violent extremists’. They can sometimes be good at identifying and working with individuals that are vulnerable to terrorist recruitment, and they are sometimes an important source of information. Not always of course. But when it comes to stopping terrorism, ‘sometimes’ is incredibly important. The effectiveness of such groups is because they are awkward bedfellows for liberals. And yet by funding, or working with, such groups, taxpayers’ money may, in effect, subsidise and even legitimise groups that hold views which the government may rightly believe have no place in British society, even if they are free to hold them.”

And another:

” The day after Cameron’s speech it was leaked that the Coalition has cut funding for the controversial but effective counter-extremism STREET project, run by a well-known conservative Salafi, Abdul Haqq-Baker.”

The United Kingdom’s Prevent Strategy was revised in 2011. Part of that revision involved stopping giving funds to ‘non-violent extremists’ who hitherto had been helping to prevent terrorism. This revision was not a result of failure, but of distaste within Cabinet at working with Salafis. Other members of the Cabinet disagreed with the change.

I don’t have time to check all the references in the blogpost, but this error alone casts doubt over the entire thing.

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