On the 16th of June 2009 Head of Quilliam Outreach and Training Unit Ghaffar Hussain gave a speech at the i2 annual user group conference in Windsor. The conference was attended by over 300 security analysts from all over the world. The speech charted the rise of Islamist ideology in the last century and explained how early Islamist movements that sought to bring about change through a political process gave rise to the more militant strands we see active today. He also touched upon the arrival of key Islamist and Jihadi ideologues into Europe in the 1980s who subsequently used their new found freedoms to preach a message of hate and division.
The use of religion in order to justify violence was challenged as was the tendency to conflate geo-political struggles with holy or cosmic wars. The speech concluded with a quote from US academic Reza Aslan ‘How do you win a cosmic war? You refuse to fight one’.