Extremism is a problem and we need to get better at discussing it.
A new generation of young, creative and resourceful political activists have begun to assert themselves and life for extremists is about to get a lot more difficult
Extremist groups like the EDL and the BNP have long argued that Muslims in this country have not done enough to tackle Islamist extremism in their communities.
They have subsequently used this claim to argue that British Muslims are sympathetic to extremists in their midst and therefore the presence of Muslims in the UK should be opposed.
Political debates always run the risk of being hijacked if they are not claimed by the right voices saying the right things.
Reluctance to discuss immigration by Labour resulted in the debate being dominated by hysterical Daily Mail headlines. Reluctance to address al-Qaeda ideology post-911 allowed far-left loonies to portray al-Qaeda as a noble liberating force defending the world’s oppressed.
Until the right voices come to the fore, important debates are used as political footballs by those with nefarious political agendas.
There is an element of truth to the claim British Muslims have traditionally been reluctant to publicly condemn extremism unconditionally. But this isn’t out of sympathy to the extremist cause; rather a disconnection from the mainstream debate, poor leadership, lack of articulate voices and the ubiquity of conspiracy theory.
The media has also played a largely negative role here, preferring to amplify the voices of sensationalist fanatics on the fringes rather than balanced and moderate perspectives.
However, in recent years, the status quo has begun to change and a number of Muslim groups, in conjunction with other anti-extremism campaigners, have begun to find their voice.
A new generation of young, creative and resourceful political activists have begun to assert themselves and life for extremists is about to get a lot more difficult.
This Friday, the Anti-Extremism Alliance (AEA) will be protesting against Anjem Choudary’s latest publicity stunt on Remembrance Day. The AEA is an umbrella group that seeks to bring a broad range of groups together that share an opposition to bigotry in all its forms.
The focus on bringing together a range of groups is important, since in the past, petty differences have hindered collaborative efforts between anti-bigotry campaigners.
The protest is open to all so please come along and support the efforts. For more information about the protest, please visit the Facebook group be clicking here.
Ghaffar Hussain is a leading independent counter-extremism expert
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