ABSTRACT

Within counterterrorism circles, there is a propensity to base the narrative of disaffected or alienated Muslim communities within the idea of “extremism” that dictates their behaviour. Indeed, the UK government’s Task Force on Extremism, convened after the Woolwich killing, specifically highlighted there was such a “poisonous ideology” that teaches that “it is not possible to be a true Muslim and to live an integrated life in the UK” (Task Force on Extremism 2013). The politics of such a narrative finds it roots very much in the politics of race relations in the UK, as identified early by Sivanandan:

In Britain, the very success of post-war multiculturalism following on from the concept of a commonwealth of nations, in establishing integration as a two-way process, led under Thatcher’s government to a separatist, state-aided culturalism and the creation of ethnic enclaves. Which after 9/11 and 7/7 came to be seen as harbouring “the enemy within”.