Counter-extremism and De-radicalisation in the UK: a Contemporary Overview
Keywords:De-radicalization, Terrorism, Prevention, Intervention, Lokahi Foundation, United Kingdom
De-radicalisation policy carries with it an inherent tension: those who provide the most invaluable support in drawing people away from violent extremist groups generally come from the demographic or community that is under suspicion. This is true even when the extremist ideology is simple for governments and state agencies to understand – such as certain political or nationalist demands – due to the credibility and reach held by members of community. Yet when government lacks not only trust and moral authority with a target demographic, but a theological and cultural knowledge which is central to understanding the nature of the extremist threat (as with violent Islamist extremism), partnering with civil society actors from the community takes on a vital importance. Partnering with community members has therefore been a central and indispensable part of the UK’s Prevent strategy, but how to do so has at times been a disputed, chronically under-researched, ideologically driven political quagmire.
The Lokahi Foundation is currently conducting a long research project, funded by the European Community, to assess the lessons that can be identified from the United Kingdom’s responses to extremism and ‘radicalization’. In this brief report we set out the historical context in which we undertake this work, and the implicit ‘strategic philosophy’, of the United Kingdom’s approach since the London attacks of July 2007.
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