Dr Rakib Ehsan: Battling Extremism: The need for social integration

By Dr Rakib Ehsan

Multi-ethnic, religiously diverse democratic societies such as the United Kingdom’s are faced with the rising threat of extremism and terrorist activity. In recent times, Western countries have suffered at the hands of both Islamist-inspired and far-right terrorism. There is no denying that Islamist-inspired and far-right terrorism “feed off” one another – in other words, “cumulative terrorism”. Indeed, there is ideological convergence between Islamist-inspired and far-right white-supremacist terrorists. Whether it is the martyrdom videos left by Islamists or the writings of white supremacists, terrorists on both sides often talk of pan-national allegiances and call for cross-country alliances based on “shared identities”.

In the case of Islamists, fellow Muslims – irrespective of their nationality – are called upon to take up arms with the objective of securing the worldwide implementation of sharia. The concept of Ummah – a global Islamic community – is used by Islamists in an effort to delegitimise nation-based loyalties and convince others to join their extremist cause. Indeed, the one Islamic sect which openly speaks of loyalty to the nation in positive terms – the Ahmadiyya community – is often the target of victimisation at the hands of orthodox Muslims who do not view Ahmadis as “proper followers” of Islam.


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