Briefing: Manifestations of Intolerance Against Muslims: Public Spaces, Political Narratives & Media in the UK – 10th Anniversary of OSCE’s Cordoba Conference & Declaration, Vienna Austria

reportIn preparation of my presentation at tomorrow’s conference in Vienna, Austria marking the 10th Anniversary of the OSCE’s Cordoba Conference and Declaration, I drew together a short briefing paper which expands on the main themes and ideas that I will be putting forward. Reflective and drawing on many of the issues that I have explored previously in my research, the paper can be downloaded by clicking here.

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COMMENT: Proscribing National Action – considering the impact of banning the British far-right group – PQ Blog

PQ-blog-banner-850This was a short comment piece I was asked to write for the PQ Blog (PQ being short for Political Quarterly). It was written to coincide with the arrest of the serving British Army members for being members of the now banned neo-Nazi group, National Action and also the publication of my article in this month’s Political Quarterly journal.

The original comment piece can be viewed here but as ever, the first few paragraphs are reproduced below.

Proscribing National Action: considering the impact of banning the British far-right group

Following the news that West Midlands Police have arrested five serving members of the British army on suspicion of being members of the proscribed neo-Nazi group National Action, we should consider the extent to which the British Government’s approach to banning extremist groups has been successful.

Over the past two decades, the British Government has adopted a range of different legislative and policy measures in trying to address extremism and radicalisation, one of which is proscription. While the majority of those banned have typically adhered to extreme Islamist ideologies, those adhering to extreme far-right ideologies have begun to increasingly concern politicians and others alike. In this respect, the arrests will be far from surprising for some.

Prior to proscription under the Terrorism Act 2000 in December 2016, little was known about National Action. While those such as Britain First and the English Defence League (EDL) had courted media attention and thereby public and political reach, National Action was growing in confidence and numbers. Most concerning, however, was that as Hope Not Hate noted, its supporters were becoming increasingly provocative, ever more erratic and wholly unpredictable to the extent that its greatest threat was physical rather than political. There were also very real concerns about the group’s link with Thomas Mair, the convicted murderer of the former Labour Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, Jo Cox. At his trial, he spoke only to say was “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”, a slogan that featured prominently on the group’s now defunct official website.

Continue reading here.

COMMENT: National Action – what I discovered about the ideology of Britain’s violent neo-Nazi youth movement – The Conversation

Conversation_logoThis was a short comment piece I wrote for the always interesting The Conversation following the arrest of serving British Army members that were alleged to be members of the proscribed neo-Nazi group, National Action. Based around my research into the group, the piece offers some basic insight along with some broader points to think about. In its original form, it can be read by clicking here.

The first few paragraphs from the comment piece are reproduced below.

National Action: what I discovered about the ideology of Britain’s violent neo-Nazi youth movement

The arrest of five serving members of the British army on September 5 under suspicion of being members of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action sends a worrying signal about the recruitment of young people to extremist ideology.

National Action was proscribed using terrorism legislation in December 2016 – the first time in British history that belonging to a far-right group had been outlawed. It is now a criminal offence to be a member of the group, invite support for it or help organise any meetings. It is also a criminal offence to wear clothing linked to the group, and to carry or wear its symbols or insignia.

The group was banned following an assessment that it was “concerned in terrorism”. A few months earlier, the only statement made in court by Thomas Mair – the convicted murderer of former Labour MP Jo Cox – was “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”, a slogan that featured prominently on the group’s now defunct official website.

I carried out research on National Action before the group was banned and much of its public profile was removed.

Unlike other more prominent British far-right groups, such as the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First, National Action is committed to “traditional” Nazism. Describing itself as a National Socialist movement, the group glorified Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, routinely using quotes from Mein Kampf alongside Nazi images and symbols on its banners and publicity materials.

From this emanated overt expressions of antisemitism, homophobia, racism and discrimination against disabled people, among others. From the words of its leaders and also on its website, the group spoke candidly about the need to “save” Britain, “our” race and “our” generation, along with a stated aspiration of establishing a “white homeland” in Britain.

Continue reading here.

COMMENT: Müslümanlar’ın Entegrasyonunda “Çözülmesi Gerekenler” – Perspektif

perspektif_logoHere’s a link to my most recent contribution to the German-published, Turkish language periodical, Perspektif. This month’s contribution is titled “Müslümanlar’ın Entegrasyonunda ‘Çözülmesi Gerekenler'” which loosely translates as “Solving the Needs of Muslim Integration” and focuses on the findings from the Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life that were published in the report, “Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All”.

The article can be viewed by clicking here.

The report can be downloaded for free here.

Below is the first few paragraphs:

Müslümanlar’ın Entegrasyonunda ‘Çözülmesi Gerekenler’

Birleşik Krallık’ta İslam, Katılım ve Kamusal Yaşam Komisyonu’nun (İng. “Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life”) bulguları temmuz ayında yayımlandı. Komisyon raporunun yayımlanmasının ardından Birleşik Krallık’taki Müslümanların entegrasyon konusu kamusal ve siyasi tartışmalarda yeniden gündeme geldi. “Kayıp Müslümanlar: İngiltereli Müslümanların Potansiyelinin Hepimizin Yararına Ortaya Çıkarılması” başlıklı raporda 18 aylık bir araştırma sürecinin sonuçları yer alıyor. Bu süre boyunca, Muhafazakâr Parti Meclis Üyesi Dominic Grieve öncülüğündeki komisyon üyeleri Birleşik Krallık’taki birçok şehir ve kasabayı gezerek, toplantılar düzenledi. Bu toplantılarda 500 saati aşkın bir süre zarfında, 21. yüzyılda Birleşik Krallık’ta Müslüman olmanın ne anlama geldiğine dair katılımcıların beyanları dinlendi. Ben de bu araştırmanın bir parçası olarak, Birmingham’da düzenlenen bir toplantıda yazılı ve sözlü ifadelerde bulundum. İfadelerimde, özellikle sokak düzeyinde İslamofobik nefret suçlarına maruz kalan kurbanların yaşadıkları ve Birleşik Krallık’taki “truva atı” skandalına vurgu yaptım. Birleşik Krallık’taki “truva atı skandalı” 2014 yılının mart ayında, aşırıcı Müslümanların birden fazla devlet okulunu ele geçirmeyi planladıklarının iddia edilmesiyle literatüre geçmişti. Çok değil yalnızca birkaç ay önce, hükûmet bu çılgın öfke seline karıştığı iddia edilen öğretmenlerin meslekten atılmaları yönünde iki yıldır süren çabalarına son verdi. Gerekçe olarak da bu iddiaların mesnetsiz olduğunu ileri sürdü.

Continue reading here.