In accordance with the Home Office report on tackling extremism within the UK, extremism is defined as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.
We see extremist ideology as one that takes an uncompromising view of the world, rules out the middle ground and creates a dichotomous, often hostile, narrative between “us” and “them”. This is indicative of lacking well-founded, reasonable, caring and critical thinking.
It is vital to be aware of all types of extremism including (but not limited to) Far Right, Islamist and Animal Rights. Whilst these ideologies are different in content, they share the same patterns of thinking as outlined above.
Extremist views are not necessarily illegal in themselves and do not automatically lead to violence or harm. However, extremism does pose a threat to our overall community cohesion, owing to its intolerant, sometimes aggressive and divisive nature.
We want to provide support for you to challenge this ideology to ensure that this does not become damaging to the individual, families or communities.
“the use of violence to further the aims of an extreme ideology” (definition used by the British Council)
There is no complete guide to detecting radicalization. Instead, there are multiple combinations of factors that might lead someone to violent extremism. This differs from context to context and person to person; some factors may have a greater impact or significance on one individual compared to the next.
We often talk about the drivers of radicalization in terms of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors and the complex interplay between these. In other words, we ask the questions: 1) what is it about an individual’s external environment that is conducive to violent extremism 2) what factors of extremist rhetoric might appeal to and exploit an individual’s existing vulnerabilities and grievances?
Again, it should be emphasised that these drivers do not work in isolation of others and do not always indicate an automatic vulnerability to radicalisation.
Some ‘push’ factors might include: a catastrophic failure or instability of the state such as a civil war, perceptions of reduced law and order, a sense of injustice derived from experiences of marginalisation or discrimination in economic, social or civic life and severe emotional instability or crisis.
Some ‘pull’ factors might include: desensitisation to or even glorification of violence, offering meaning or pursuit of a higher purpose, deep feelings of loyalty and comradeship
We know that radicalisation can be a really difficult thing to spot, that is why we are here to talk through your concerns. If you simply have the feeling that something just ‘isn’t quite right’, don’t wait any longer, talk to us, and we can keep you safetogether.