We must avoid the trap set by extremists of
limiting human beings to one identity.
We all have multiple identities which
enrich us as individuals.
The number of foreign terrorist
fighters sharply increased after the civil war in Syria started
and over 27,000 are believed to have joined ISIS since 2011.1 Jihadist groups competing for attention and prominence in the Middle East, such as the Al-Nusra Front, were responsible for violent attacks on Syrian security forces and civilians.2 Anti-Muslim attacks rose by 326 per cent in the UK in 2015,3 a trend mirrored across Europe. Violent extremists’ ability to communicate effectively, especially through social media, became clear. ISIS used encrypted messaging services to perpetrate the Paris attacks4 and 90,000-200,000 pro-ISIS messages were posted daily in 2015.5 Local conflicts, such as in the Philippines, have continued to have a violent extremist dimension, and lone actor terrorist attacks, like that by Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011, have inflicted thousands of casualties in the last decade.6 References
1 A. Kirk (2016), ‘Iraq and Syria: How many foreign fighters are fighting for Isil?’ The
[online], 24 March
2 T. John (2016), ‘Everything you need to know about the New Al-Nusra Front’, Time [online], 28 July
3 T. Jeory (2016), ‘UK entering “unchartered territory” of Islamophobia after Brexit vote’, The Independent [online], 27 June
4 How social media was key to Islamic State’s attacks on Paris’, The Conversation [online], 17 November
5 The Islamic State’s use of online social media’, Military Cyber Affairs, 1(1). www.scholarcommons.usf.edu/mca/vol1/iss1/4
6 Lone Actor Terrorism Literature Review. www.strategicdialogue.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Literature_Review.pdf
pro ISIS messages
posteD daily in 20153
1 A. Kirk (2016), ‘Iraq and Syria: How many foreign fighters are fighting for Isil?’
[online], 24 March
2 T. Jeory (2016), ‘UK entering “unchartered territory” of Islamophobia after Brexit vote’, The Independent [online], 27 June
3 The Islamic State’s use of online social media’, Military Cyber Affairs, 1(1). www.scholarcommons.usf.edu/mca/vol1/iss1/4
A rich literature describes the causes and nature of violent extremism, and numerous policies address it. Major disagreements remain but at least four areas of consensus have emerged.
01 It is essential to clearly uphold values when tackling violent extremism of all kinds.
02 Policies to counter violent extremism (CVE) should adopt a full spectrum approach.
03 We need to tackle acts of violence but also the narratives of violent extremists, because these are central to their ability to attract new followers.
04 It is vital to involve a wide variety of people and professions in CVE work, because governments can have only a limited impact in some areas, and the best solutions are often local ones.
Extremely Together builds on these four areas of consensus. It affirms a strong set of human rights values; tackles all forms of violent extremism and confronts secondary challenges that entrench them; recognises that active communications make other approaches more effective; and promotes leadership by young people.