Leading academics for research papers chosen
The Independent Commission for Countering Extremism has announced the leading academics it has commissioned to write research papers on the far right, Islamism, far left and online extremism.
As part of its study into all forms of extremism, the commission, announced by the Prime Minister after the terror attacks of 2017, has selected 29 academics and experts to write 19 papers on different aspects of extremism after a competitive bidding process.
The topics, which will feed into the commission’s study into all forms of extremism, released later this year, include the influence of social media on extremism on and offline; the extent to which far right and Islamist ideologies have entered mainstream public and political life and explorations of the links between extremism and terrorism through the lens of UK-based Islamist and far right groups, Al-Muhajiroun and National Action.
The commission has carried out polling, reviewed academic literature on extremism and set out the 5 themes – its terms of reference - that it will consider for its forthcoming study. These are the public’s understanding of extremism; the scale of extremism; extremists’ objectives and tactics; the harms caused by extremism and the current response to extremism.
Sara Khan, Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism, said: “We cannot be under any illusion – we are living in an era of extremism and growing intolerance. In every one of the towns and cities I have visited, I have heard concerns about the changing face and increasing prominence of extremism online, the far right and Islamist extremism. This is having a devastating impact on individuals, communities and our wider society.
“Countering extremism is a crucially important issue that requires serious and credible research to guide policymakers. The wide range of views put forward by these academic papers will be a vital element of our study on all forms of extremism in our country. They will provide in-depth academic insight that will complement the data and information we are collecting from thousands of individuals and organisations on the ground.
“Extremism is complex and there are many as yet unanswered questions about the scale of it and the best approach to tackling it, but my commission’s study will start to set out what we can - and must - do as a country to stand up against those who seek to divide us.”