Examining the Extremes, Panel Discussion 1 – Coming to terms with the terms: what do we call violent Al-Qaeda-type extremism?

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

Dialogue Society Birmingham Branch 4 Vicarage Road, BIRMINGHAM, B15 3ES

Dr Gavin Bailey

University of Leicester

Emeritus Prof Lynn Davies

School of Education, Birmingham University

Imran Awan

Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology, Birmingham City University

Prof Basia Spalek

Chair in Social Policy, Kingston University

The Dialogue Society, Birmingham Branch is organising a panel discussion series entitled, ‘Examining the extremes: exploring the causes of and connections between violent “religious” extremism and extreme right wing movements’. This series will consist of four panel discussions exploring violent “religious” extremism and extreme right wing movements in the UK. It will consider what terms are most accurate and useful in talking about extremism, examining what we know about the causes of its different forms and considering the responsibilities and opportunities of different groups and institutions for tackling the threat of extremism. Speakers will consider and address the sub-questions provided for each panel title.


  • How much does it matter?
  • Are people alienated by certain terms? Which terms are problematic for which groups?
  • What terms are accurate and useful?

Biography of Basia Spalek

Professor Basia Spalek is Professor in Criminology and Social Policy at Kingston University. Basia has extensive research, evaluation and consultation experience on issues of social and community cohesion and integration, counter-terrorism, policing multi-cultural and multi-faith societies and community-based approaches to security. Basia has written, edited and co-edited nine books and has written over 30 research papers. Basia has also led many international, national and local research projects and consultations for work funded by the ESRC, AHRC, Unison, West Midlands Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Department for Communities & Local Government, the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and others.

Alongside an international team, Basia is co-Director of “ConnectJustice”, an organisation which researches, evaluates, trains and facilitates communities and states experiencing social and political conflicts.

Basia is an alumni of Wilton Park forums on violent extremism; she is also a regularly invited international speaker at academic, policy and practitioner conferences on community policing, trust and confidence, community based approaches to security and counter-terrorism. Basia is also a trainee psychotherapy practitioner, working with the voluntary and statutory sectors to provide wide-ranging therapeutic interventions.

Biography of Lynn Davies

Lynn Davies is Emeritus Professor of International Education in the Centre for International Education and Research at the University of Birmingham. Her interests are in education and conflict, education and extremism and education in fragile contexts, and she has done research and consultancy in a number of conflict-affected states such as Afghanistan, Angola and Sri Lanka. She has also done work in UK on evaluating programmes to counter extremism and on mentoring those at risk of radicalisation. Her books include Education and Conflict: Complexity and Chaos (2004) and Educating Against Extremism (2008). She has just completed a book called Unsafe Gods: Security, Secularism and Schooling (2013) and is co-editor of a recent book on Gender, Religion and Education. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of South Africa and a Visiting Professor at the British University of Dubai, as well as serving as a Board member of the Africa Educational Trust and as an Associate of ConnectJustice.

Biography of Imran Awan

Imran Awan is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University. He has published widely in the area of counterterrorism, extremism, human rights, and policing and co-edited the book ‘Policing Cyber Hate, Cyber Threats and Cyber Terrorism’ (Ashgate 2012). In 2010, he was invited by the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism to a Prevent Seminar held in London to discuss government policy on how best to prevent violent extremism.

In 2011 Imran was invited by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to take part in a review of UK Government Counter-terrorism legislation and the impact it had upon the Human Rights Act. He has also given evidence before the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia in the House of Commons. He is a regular contributor for the Guardian, the Independent and the New statesman. Imran’s latest co-edited book is entitled: ‘Extremism, Counter-Terrorism and Policing’ which was published this summer by Ashgate in 2013.

Biography of Gavin Bailey

Gavin is a Research Associate at the University of Leicester, working on populism, extremism and hate speech/crime. He has degrees from the Universities of Cambridge, London and Keele. He recently completed his political sociology doctorate which involved ethnographic and interview research with radical Islamist far-right activists. He has also worked as a researcher on numerous projects on ‘hard-to-reach groups’, including refugees and asylum seekers, problematic drug users, and unemployed teenagers.

His current research interests include the role of the state and mass media in perpetuating stereotypes of extremism, and the ethics of researching and writing about racism, Islamophobia and other isms.