TRENDS Research & Advisory and ICSR, King’s College held their second expert roundtable on the Religious Foundations for Political Violence in the House of Lords of the UK Parliament. The event was hosted in the House of Lords by Lord Alderdice of Knock and brought together 25 experts from government, non-gonvernmental associations, community groups, academics and think tanks.
The importance of addressing issues of extremism that lead to violence at the community level is essential. The front line of efforts to counter extremism is at the community level where society lives their day to day lives. In efforts to challenge extremist ideologies we need a whole of community approach, from the top levels of government down to the grass roots level, and then across the wide range of community based concerns and efforts.
At the centre of these efforts is the need to identify the various sources of extremism, including religious based extremism. Currently discussions around religious issues raise a range of sensitivies and the discussion is controlled by supporters of extremist views. This results in a lack of debate in discussion in society and at the government level. Speaking at the event, Sara Khan, the newly appointed Lead Commissioner for the UK’s Commission for Countering Extremism reinforced the need for vigourous debate and discussion on these matters.
It is essential to engage with extremist views to show that they are extreme and not part of the mainstream beliefs in the community. It requires nuanced and evidence based approaches that work to meet the particular contexts in which they exist.
For more information, please contact Dr. Richard Burchill, Director of Research and Engagement, [email protected].