Examining the Extremes, Panel Discussion 2 – What do we know about the causes of violent extremism claiming an Islamic motivation in the UK?

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

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

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Co-Director of The Association of British Muslims

Prof Ian G. Williams

Senior Lecturer & Subject Leader, University of Central England

Prof Shamit Saggar

Director of the Understanding Society Policy Unit

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.


  • 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?

Biography of Ian G Williams

Dr Ian G Williams is educated at the Universities of London, King’s College, Nottingham, and Derby Dr Williams has previously taught Religious and Islamic Studies at the universities of Chester, Derby, and Birmingham City University. His doctoral research focussed upon contemporary perceptions of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib amongst Sunni and Twelver Shi’a traditions in the UK. He has published and given papers at international academic conferences on his current research into the work of a modern Turkish Religio-Social Movement with a global network of schools and universities, media, relief agency and inter-religious dialogue activities.

Currently, Dr Williams is completing a book entitled Ali ibn Abu Talib: A Study in Meanings and Semiotics in British Islam for publication in 2011. Recent publications and papers include amongst others: “Relics and Reliquaries: Signs and Semiotics in contemporary UK Islam.”, in Peter Collins & Elizabeth Arweck, eds Texts and Religious Contexts, London, Ashgate. 2006. “The Vision of Education within pluralistic societies in the thought of Fethullah Gulen: A study of contrasts between faith sector and non-denominational education in the UK, Turkey and the USA” in Yilmaz & Williams [ed’s] Peace and Coexistence. Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University Press 2008. Alongside his research and writing, Dr Williams’ enthusiasms include inter-faith dialogue, theatre, choral music, hill walking, Turkish cuisine, and hazardous travel!

Biography of Shamit Saggar

Prof Shamit Saggar is currently Professor of Political Science at the University of Sussex. He is the director of Doctoral Studies, convenor, MA in European Politics and on Secondment to HM Government Jan-Dec 2013 based at DCMS.

He was Previously Senior Policy Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office; Reader in Political Behaviour at Queen Mary, University of London; Harkness Fellow at UCLA; Yale World Fellow at Yale University; and Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

Professor Saggar’s main interests lie in public policy, regulation, international migration, ethnic pluralism and political participation. Professor Saggar has published widely on migration, public policy, political participation, regulation, ethnic pluralism, and radical Islam and violent extremism. His latest book, Pariah Politics: Western Radical Islam and What Should be Done, was published in paperback by Oxford in 2011.

Biography of Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong (a.k.a. Sheikh Salahuddin Abu Sophia) is a director, scholar and broadcaster. After officially embracing Islam on 1 March 2000, Paul continued to study religion and spirituality for the past 13 years. Aside from his current positions as Co-Director of The Association of British Muslims, Director of Khilafah Online Ltd, and Director of Heruset Ltd, Paul has worked with and been a trustee of Wolverhampton Inter-Faith & Regeneration Network, is a trustee of BME United Ltd and the founder of Wulfruna Sufi Association.