Vox Political: Michelle Thomasson on Peacefully Tackling Extremism

Vox Political has a guest piece by Michelle Thomasson, discussing approaches to Islamic radicalisation, Islamaphobia and the Fascist extreme Right. Entitled You can peacefully combat extremism – Michelle Thomasson it describes a conference called by the Labour MP Rushanara Ali. It begins

Last week at the House of Commons in London there was a discussion on ‘Youth, Alienation and Radicalisation’ – terms that can equally encompass young Muslims as well as white working class people.

Rushanara Ali MP had agreed to sponsor the meeting and she was joined by Fiyaz Mughal OBE, director of Faith Matters, an interfaith and anti-extremist organisation and Professor Matthew Feldman, an expert on fascist ideology and the contemporary far-right in Europe and the USA.

There were comments from the discussion that can prompt us all to do our part to peacefully combat extremism and as one of the attendees I was keenly listening for anything that may shed light on the root causes of this disenchantment and how it could be addressed.

The article is based on the notes Thomasson made at the discussion. The discussion covered the possible social causes of the radicalisation of young Muslims, such as social alienation, racism, and reactions to the aggressive international policies of Britain, America and the West after 9/11; the rise of Islamophobia as the major motivating ideology in the contemporary far right, replacing anti-Semitism; the role ordinary people themselves have in personally challenging extremist ideologies, the lack of legislation specifically protecting Muslims, unlike Jews or Sikhs, and the lack of funding for equalities organisations. She also notes that the speakers believed that a decline in neighbourliness in British society had also resulted in greater social fragmentation and distrust. Far right ideologies had also benefited from the sense of powerlessness that resulted from a world dominated by Neo-liberal economics. The speakers felt that we could tackle extremism by a developing a common sense of social ownership.

The article is at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/01/20/you-can-peacefully-combat-extremism-michelle-thomasson/. It deserves to be read.

One important point to take away from this is that, while hate crime against Muslims has risen, much of its seems to come from a few hardened individuals. It’s impossible to be absolutely sure, as Thomasson states that hate crime is grossly under-reported, but nevertheless about half of all such crimes are committed by the same people. While the Fascist fringe is still about, and throwing up new forms, such as Britain First, even after the decline of the BNP, the number of people involved shouldn’t be overestimated. And despite UKIP’s boast of its rising political importance, 85 per cent of the people in this country are opposed to it. The Fascists are still small, marginal groups, and its important not to concede them too much importance or feel that they somehow speak for anything like a majority of this country’s people.

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3 Responses to “Vox Political: Michelle Thomasson on Peacefully Tackling Extremism”

  1. rainbowwarriorlizzie Says:


  2. Michelle Thomasson (Shell) Says:

    Thanks for highlighting the important points, much appreciated!

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