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Much of the attention following the killing of Sir David Amess MP has been focused on the rising volume of threats to MPs and the issue of online anonymity. These are very important, but a much broader set of questions around ideology is in danger of slipping from view. William Shawcross’ Independent Review of the counter-radicalisation Prevent strategy affords a major opportunity to address this imbalance and reset discussion in a neglected area of policy. Shawcross is due to report shortly to the Home Secretary.
Here are fourteen questions which emerge from the horrific events in Southend:
A traditional maxim in research is to ‘follow the money.’ Recent revelations concerning the growing size of the budget enjoyed by Turkey’s Diyanet (the Ministry of Religious Affairs), and its increased focus on global expansion, have alerted new eyes to a trend observable for some years – Ankara is committing more and more on propagating the faith, and is doing so domestically and internationally.
At an ‘in conversation’ event hosted by Policy Exchange at this year’s Conservative Party Conference, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care insisted that investment was required to tackle the challenges facing the NHS, but it would only come with reform. Uncontroversial, surely? Yet this week’s announcement of a new package of funding proved anything but, with the £250m ‘Winter Access Fund’ – the first test of Javid’s model – landing at the epicentre of a febrile media debate around access to general practice, where emotion and opposition has begun to dominate over evidence and consensus-building.
On the evening of Wednesday October 13, 2021, in the city of Kongsberg, some 50 miles from Oslo, five people were killed and two more were injured in a suspected terrorist attack by a lone perpetrator. The attacker, named Espen Andersen Bråthen, was armed with a bow and arrows. He was later apprehended and charged.
France’s Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, and the Minister for Citizenship, Marlène Schiappa, recently gave an interview with Le Figaro, reflecting on the first anniversary of Macron’s speech against “Islamist separatism”, which he delivered on October 2, 2020. Darmanin and Schiappa described how the French government has stepped up its efforts to tackle Islamist extremism in France, particularly after the approval by the National Assembly in July 2021, of the Law Reinforcing Respect of the Principles of the Republic, also called the “anti-separatism” bill. This includes a wave of measures against violent and non-violent Islamist extremism.
The Charity Commission is to investigate a London-based Islamic charity, the Miftahul Jannah Academy in Waltham Forest, after the National Secular Society reported that the charity’s website contained extremist sermons praising the Taliban and encouraging Muslims to fund jihadists. The charity’s website also hosted antisemitic audio recordings referring to the “dirty qualities” of Jews.
On September 24, the French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, announced that “The fight against Islamist ideology has passed a decisive point”. His announcement came as France’s highest court, the Council of State, ruled in favour of his decision in October last year to close down BarakaCity, a charitable organisation, and the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), an organisation that monitors Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crimes. Both organisations were accused of propagating Islamist propaganda in the wake of the beheading of schoolteacher Samuel Paty on October 16, 2020.
Levelling Up – the vast policy idea driving the whole Government’s agenda – was one area where some clarity emerged during the Conservative Party Conference, particularly during the Prime Minister’s speech and at two fringe events hosted by Policy Exchange – one with Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; and another with Neil O’Brien, who is a new minister in the rebranded department, a former Director of Policy Exchange and the man holding the pen on the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.
Three British Islamist organisations have helped spearhead an international campaign in commemoration of 9/11. The International Witness Campaign, according to its website, seeks to raise awareness not of the victims of global jihadist violence – which, incidentally, pre-dates 9/11 – but of the plight of “the millions of people affected across the globe” by what it calls “state sponsored violence” conducted since 9/11 and the beginning of the “War on Terror”.
Related Content Flintshire Council in Wales is the latest local authority to adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia. It also accepted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism...