Extremism and Terrorism are different and it’s important we understand this.
So how does terrorism differ from extremism?
The Counter Extremism Strategy 2015 says: “Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and respect and tolerance for different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.”
Simply put extremism often brings people together who then advocate extreme ideas, but do not seek to commit violence or terrorism.
Advocating extremist ideas, these may cause offence and be intolerable to many, but feeling angry, worthless and ignored, people will often reach out to extremists who will listen, offer value and embody people with worth via a cause worth fighting for.
Showing itself in many ways extremism may be manifest itself by hateful memes, comments or videos online and offline this means verbal abuse or even things like criminal damage, but it also may mean difficult conversations on – immigration, crime, housing, and employment as people search for answers to issues people are concerned about.
Offering simple answers to often complicated issues, extremists offer solutions like – British Jobs For British Workers, the redevelopment of British industry, withdrawal from the EU, capital punishment for some crimes and even things like 5 million new homes and a £15 minimum wage.
For many, these one-liners sound appealing, because they feel abandoned by society and confused about how they identify and this is why extremism is growing because there is a void, extremists are filling.
Instead, we need to step into this space, have difficult conversations and seek answers where the whole community and country is involved, from top to bottom, otherwise, extremists will be seen as the voice of the voiceless and extremism will increase as the frustration sets in that nothing is improving. As the extremists will simply blame society more and reinforce their position.
No longer ignored extremism is growing and from extremism come, terrorists, so we have to act now to challenge extremism, which will reduce terrorism.
Unconventional we must create safe spaces to talk, have difficult conversations and show there has to be another way.
Sarah - Mom of a former.