Extremism isn’t limited to one group in society
Suleman Nagdi reflects on the Oslo massacre
Let us take a moment to pause in remembrance of the victims of the deplorable and utterly incomprehensible acts of terror that befell Oslo and the nearby island of Utoya on July 22. These acts of terror have left the most bitter and saddest of emotions, serving as the starkest reminder of the presence of evil in society. What this most incomprehensible of acts has shown us is that violent extremism exists and is a threat that we must work even harder to counter.
Governments including our own have put in place measures and strategies to counter the threat of violent extremism. Indeed, the Coalition Government has recently published the revised Prevent Strategy which has as its stated aim the desire to correct the perceived faults of the previous Prevent Strategy. Although the strategy does make mention of various sources of violent extremism, it only focuses in great detail on one particular source. This is dangerous.
By dedicating such an unbalanced attention on one potential source of violent extremism, the new policy has neglected to sufficiently focus on the dangers posed by others who also espouse views that seek to inflict physical harm upon others. Violent extremism is an unfortunate phenomenonthat is a feature of various groups in society and not just limited to one community, therefore any counter-terrorism measures needs to take this into consideration.
Any neglect of this reality can have devastating consequences such as the one realised in Norway. The tragedy of the events in Norway serves as a grim reminder that it is up to governments and the media to recognise violent extremism in all its guises and develop policies which accurately reflect the threat posed by all these sources of violent extremism.
The Norway terrorist murders tell us once again that we need to focus on building and investing in community relations. Projects which bring together people from all backgrounds to do good are a start. Whether it is charity activity, fun events or sports, there are ways in which local and national government could work with communities to help bring this about as a long term-plan. On top of this, the only way we will defeat the seeds of extremism are more education and training for all our population. Tackling extremism requires some long-term objectives you do not have to which may take years to realise.
This emphasis on community cohesion has seen Leicester serve as reference point for other cities across Europe in the stand against violent extremism. Leicester has dealt with the threat of violent extremism so that the threat posed by potential perpetrators has been wholly minimised. But we must not be daunted by the task ahead and remain steadfast in our commitment to work collaboratively with people from all backgrounds so that we may create safer communities for all to flourish in.