By Dr. Matthew Wilkinson
26 February 2016. Dr. Matthew Wilkinson contributed to a panel discussion at the Cambridge Union Society entitled, ‘How do we respond to religious extremism,’ with Remona Aly, a guardian journalist and founder of Exploring Islam Foundation, Muhammad Abdul Bari, Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Muhammad Manwar Ali, an Islamist in the 80s who now speaks out against IS and develops anti-radicalisation training and Dr Humeira Iqtidar, Senior Lecturer in Politics at King’s College London.
Dr. Wilkinson explained the general basis of extremisms in terms of exaggerated divisions of the world into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ which in the case of the violent extremism sharpens into violence. He then detailed the particular characteristics of violent Islamist extremism and explained how this ideology subverts Islamic doctrine as well as explaining what an effective multi-dimensional response to violent Islamist extremism might look like.
The panel stimulated an intelligent and useful discussion in the 60 or so attendeees.