‘The Radicalisation of Youth in the UK and Beyond: Causes and Effects’



Ambassador Kanwal Sibal

Foreign Secretary of India, 2002-2003

Haras Rafiq

Managing Director, Quilliam Foundation

Rupert Sutton

Director, Student Rights at The Henry Jackson Society

TIME: 2 – 3.30pm, Tuesday 24 March 2015

VENUE: Committee Room 8, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

For a transcript of this event, click here

For a podcast of this event, click here

The public debate around extremism has intensified in recent weeks in the wake of news that three teenage girls from East London have become the latest Britons to leave their homes and travel to Syria. With this news followed by revelations that the Islamic State executioner known as ‘Jihadi John’ grew up in West London and attended the University of Westminster, the damaging effects of radicalisation on young people have become increasingly obvious.

It is clear therefore that challenging the risks posed to vulnerable young people by extremism must form a significant part of any developing counter-terrorism policy. Understanding the reasons why people are attracted to radical ideologies and providing practical solutions to turn them away from violent action or criminality will be a vital part of this effort. However, it also important that in doing so government does not play into the hands of extremists by restricting freedom of expression.

By kind invitation of the Sir Peter Luff MP, Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at The Henry Jackson Society and The Democracy Forum are pleased to invite you to a panel discussion with Ambassador Kanwal Sibal, former Foreign Secretary of India; Haras Rafiq, Managing Director of Quilliam Foundation; and Rupert Sutton, Director of Student Rights at The Henry Jackson Society. The speakers will address the issues raised by the radicalisation of young people, and will seek to answer why it is that they have been drawn to the ideas and groups which facilitate this process. They will also detail how governments, religious communities, and the wider civil society can seek to challenge this extremism, identifying the need for new regulation, ideas, and narratives.



Ambassador Kanwal Sibal joined the Indian Foreign Service in July 1966, eventually serving as Foreign Secretary in 2002-2003. He served in Paris, Dar-es-Salaam (as Deputy High Commissioner), Lisbon and Kathmandu (as Deputy Chief of Mission) before serving as ambassador to Turkey, Deputy Chief of Mission in the US (with rank of ambassador) and ambassador to Egypt, France and Russia. He has 41 years of diplomatic experience.

Ambassador Sibal was member of India’s National Security Advisory Board from November 2008 to November 2010. He was President of the Association of Indian Diplomats from March 2010 to March 2011 and he is on the Advisory Board of the Vivekanand International Foundation, New Delhi.

Additionally, ambassador Sibal participates in several Track-2 dialogues and international seminars, is a Board Member of the New York based EastWest Institute, and an Editorial Consultant to The Indian Defence Review and Foreign Affairs Editor of Force – two prominent defense and security related publications.

Ambassador Sibal writes regularly for national journals and periodicals on international affairs, with over 250 op-eds and other articles to his credit.

He has received the high distinction of Grand Officier of the Ordre du Merite from France.

Abbas Faiz, a senior researcher with Amnesty International, has investigated human rights violations, particularly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives. He has authored scores of Amnesty International reports, statements and briefings and has frequently travelled on field research or high level missions within South Asia.

He has given in-depth interviews on human rights issues to a range of media, including Aljazeera, VOA, ABC, CNN, BBC and DW, as well publishing articles in The Guardian, News Statesman, The Lancet and regional newspapers. He has been frequently engaged in high level meetings with senior government officials, ministers, Prime Ministers and Presidents on how to improve human rights protection, and has close contact with the civil society activists and organisations.

His academic background is in Cultural Studies (University of London) and Peace Studies (University of Bradford).

Haras Rafiq is Quilliam’s Managing Director. He was formerly a member of the UK Government task force looking at countering extremism in response to the 2005 terrorist bombings in London, as well as being a peer mentor for IDeA, advising regional government.

In addition to this, he has worked on and delivered a number of projects relating to the analysis of radicalisation, as well as the de-radicalisation of extremists, and has presented on a number of academic and political platforms, nationally and internationally.

As part of his work, Haras is committed to countering xenophobia and hatred, and has spoken at many conferences and events, including the Global Forum on combating anti-Semitism (December 2009), as well as being a Chair of a working group of the Global Experts’ Forum on anti-Semitism in Ottawa in 2010.

Haras is regularly featured in the media as a commentator and has been a cultural ambassador through the UK Government’s “Projecting British Islam” initiative.

As well as the above, Haras has also served on the North West Board of the Mosaic initiative, which was initiated by HRH Prince Charles, and aimed at mentoring youngsters to become contributing members of society.

Rupert Sutton is a Research Fellow at The Henry Jackson Society where he focuses on domestic extremism, and is Director of Student Rights, a project which seeks to challenge extremism on university campuses.  He has written for Haaretz, International Business Times, The Huffington Post and New Humanist, and presented Student Rights’ research at the European Parliament. Rupert has an MA in Terrorism and Security with Distinction from King’s College London, during which he focused on sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, and a BA in War Studies from the University of Kent.


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