Channel 4 recently broadcast a film which reflected the views of several members of the UK’s Palestinian community in relation to the ongoing tensions in the Middle East. It raised some interesting perspectives, but my attention was caught by mention of the counter terrorism strategy, Prevent, and the abjectly untrue claim that training materials suggest support for Palestinians is a ‘potential indicator of extremism’.

A training slide was shown on the screen with its title pasted in the top left corner on a distinctive green background which reads “An Introduction to the Prevent Duty as it Affects Higher Education”. On…

The 15th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings is an appropriate time to reflect upon the atrocities committed against commuters in the nation’s capital city. On this day, our fellow citizens were targeted by terrorists who saw the slaughter of the unarmed as their ticket to martyrdom and glory. In total, 52 people — all UK residents of 18 different nationalities — were killed and more than 700 injured in the bombings, in an attack that was either directed or influenced by one of the world’s most vicious Islamist terrorist organisations: al-Qaeda.

I was recently privileged to meet Dan Biddle…

Protecting Protest, Preventing Terrorism

It is rare for a week to pass without a story about the UK’s counter terrorism strategy ’Prevent’ appearing in the media. The public has become used to a steady stream of media hysteria and embellished stories that run the gamut from ‘terror tots’ and spelling mistakes to Orwellian dystopias, and we should give the public the credit they deserve for most of these stories falling flat once outside their frenzied echo chambers.

Part of this may lie with the tellers of these tall tales. Groups who relentlessly try to undermine counter terrorism laws while earning their living supporting terrorists…

We Need to Talk About Kieron

It was 4am when the phone call came through. The FBI had contacted Scotland Yard, who in turn had contacted my local Police force who had decided I should immediately attend a strategy meeting. A 15 year old boy called Kieron* had just disclosed in a US chat forum he was going to kill his classmates that day and the investigating officers were unclear what ‘ideology’ might be influencing his intentions. However, the issue wasn’t identifying if Kieron followed a violent ideology, the problem was identifying which ideology he followed. …

The Abu Dhabi skyline at sunrise( iStock )

The threat from Islamist terrorism has evolved in both its complexity and application. Initially relying on spectacle to capture the attention of the world’s media, the degradation of Islamic State has led to a reliance on unsophisticated, self-starter attacks by individuals often inspired, rather than directed, by terrorist groups. While the violent methodology is continually evolving, there is an underlying factor that remains largely unchanged, an extreme Islamist ideology that redefines Islam though its own political prism.

Just as the first victims of terrorism are often Muslims themselves, the predominant victims of Islamist extremism will be Muslim-majority countries and the…

The Misogyny of Terrorism

Those who study or work in the field of counter terrorism will have seen instances where violence against women and violent extremism appear intrinsically linked.

A recent book, Home Grown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists, explores this theme in forensic detail. Its author, Joan Smith, is a feminist writer and co-chair of the London Mayor’s violence against women and girls board. In her book, Smith notes that the Westminster Bridge terrorist Khalid Masood was guilty of controlling and beating a succession of women behind closed doors. …

Who Cares? The Untold Story of the ISIS ‘Child Army’

It was the first case of mass radicalisation of children in the UK, but few know what really happened behind the headlines. For the first time, here is the untold story of the ISIS ‘child army’.

Those of us who are parents understand the need for ‘safeguarding’ children in schools. It’s a measure to identify potential harms and ensure the right help is offered to reduce them, and it should reassure us when we hand our children to total strangers.

In the UK, we have developed safeguarding to cover all…

Taking our Children” – Why Radical Right Extremists Prey on Our Deepest Human Fears

"We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children"

These fourteen words have been seared into white supremacist folklore. Coined by David Laine, a member of the white supremacist group The Order, they summarise his 88 Manifesto - itself a redaction of Hitler’s Mein Kampf - and present an inevitable extinction of the ‘white race’ unless immediate action is taken. …

The launch of CONTEST 3.0 is a milestone in the UK’s evolving counter terrorism strategy, it also coincides with my own 10th anniversary working in the prevention of violent extremism. With a new Home Secretary at the helm and CONTEST now relaunched, it seems a fitting occasion to look back at the evolution of the Prevent strand of counter terrorism.

As the dust from the 2005 terrorist attacks settled, it quickly became clear that prior to the attacks, all four of the terrorists had exhibited behaviours which signposted trouble was looming. A neighbour, a teacher, a youth worker — people…

During the 2016–17 Home Affairs Select Committee on Radicalisation, Google claimed that, in 2014, they had removed over 14 million videos relating to different forms of abuse, including content that promoted violent extremism. They have now announced they will be employing an additional 10,000 staff as human moderators to take down videos and comments that violate their policies. It seems the problem of abusive online content is getting worse.

While we can agree that content which directly promotes or incites violence or abuse has no place online, there is a grey zone that sits uncomfortably between freedom of speech and…

William Baldet

#CVE Coordinator, UK | Senior Fellow @ISDGlobal, Policy & Practitioner Fellow @C4ARR | #AVE Network | @RANEurope | #OSCE |

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