Examining the Extremes: Exploring the Causes of and Connections between Violent “religious” Extremism and Extreme Right Wing Movements

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

Dr Arshad Isakjee

University of Birmingham

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

Mashuq Ally

Assistant Director, Equalities and Human Resources

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Co-Director of The Association of British Muslims

Prof Basia Spalek

Chair in Social Policy, Kingston University

Prof Shamit Saggar

Director of the Understanding Society Policy Unit

Waqar Ahmed

Prevent Manager, Birmingham City Council

This year extremism has been brought disturbingly to the forefront of public consciousness. In May off-duty soldier Lee Rigby was brutally murdered by men who claimed to be avenging the killing of Muslims. In the following weeks and months, ordinary Muslims suffered a wave of Islamophobic attacks, including serious arson attacks on mosques. Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson’s recent departure from the far right group has, along with anger from the group itself, provoked a mixture of tentative hope, triumph and scepticism elsewhere.

Against the backdrop of these destructive attacks and ambiguous developments, the Dialogue Society Birmingham Branch is organising a series 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 their panel title as well as the sub-questions provided for each panel.

Objectives

  • To examine the complexities and connotations of the terms we use to denote Al-Qaeeda-type extremism and to try to clarify what terms are most accurate and useful
  • To discuss what we know about the causes of Al-Qaeeda-type and right wing extremism in the UK
  • To consider to what extent the different kinds of extremism feed off one another, and to what extent they are affected by the pressures of economic crisis
  • To explore the responsibilities and opportunities of different sectors and communities in tackling extreme fringes
  • To consider whether and what limits we should place on dialogue. Is it brave and useful or naive and counterproductive to engage directly with extreme fringes?

The Topics

1. Coming to terms with the terms: what do we call violent Al-Qaeda-type extremism?
29.01.2013

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

Confirmed speakers:

  • Prof Basia Spalek, Chair in Social Policy, Kingston University
  • Emeritus Prof Lynn Davies, School of Education, Birmingham University
  • Imran Awan, Centre for Applied Criminology, Birmingham City University
  • Dr Gavin Bailey, University of Leicester

2. What do we know about the causes of violent extremism claiming an Islamic motivation in the UK?
26.02.2013

  • What factors (social, political, economic, ideological, cultural) seem to contribute most significantly to people adopting extremism?
  • To what extent does this kind of extremism feed off extreme right wing movements?
  • How far is this kind of extremism affected by the pressures of economic crisis?

Confirmed speakers:

  • Prof Shamit Saggar, Sussex Centre for Migration Research
  • Dr Ian G. Williams, The Markfield Institute of Higher Education
  • Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Co-Director of The Association of British Muslims

3. What do we know about the causes of right wing extremism in the UK?

  • What factors (social, political, economic, ideological, cultural) contribute most significantly to people adopting extremism?
  • To what extent does this kind of extremism feed off violent Al-Qaeeda-type extremism?
  • How far is this kind of extremism affected by the pressures of economic crisis?

Confirmed speakers:

  • Mashuq Ally, Assistant Director, Equalities and Human Resources

4. What can/should different sectors of society do to tackle extreme fringes?

  • What are the responsibilities and opportunities of:
    government?
    civil society?
    educational institutions?

Confirmed speakers:

  • Waqar Ahmed, Prevent Manager, Birmingham City Council
  • Dr Arshad Isakjee, University of Birmingham
  • Ismail Mesut Sezgin, Centre for Hizmet Studies