15 July 2016

At Quilliam we are appalled by the horrific attack in Nice and stand in solidarity with France.

Senior Quilliam staff attended the Bastille Day celebrations at the French Embassy in London yesterday, and the contrast between the message there of liberté, egalité and fraternité and the horror perpetuated by the attacker last night is stark.

Terrorism is a global issue. With each passing attack the same questions are asked and the same sentiments of solidarity are echoed across the world. But there are others who do not think like us. There are some who give ISIS what they want, responding with kneejerk measures, with more hatred, or with apologia – we must unite to do the opposite.

Terrorist organisations do not require territory or substantial resources to be able to inflict damage on the world. Militarily, ISIS is at an all-time low in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, yet its ideas, ideology and emotional appeal are stronger than ever. The attack in Nice reminds us that this appeal and support is strong here in Europe too.

To stop terrorism and defeat ISIS we must tackle the ideological underpinnings of Islamist extremism and jihadist terrorism. As a series of devastating attacks over the last month remind us, all over the world: this is an issue which can often be contained by security and intelligence, but will never be solved by it alone.

Managing Director Haras Rafiq says, “It is frustrating that we are still having the same conversations I was having in Downing Street a decade ago. We know what the problem is. A global jihadist insurgency. We know the solution required. Full spectrum counter-extremism led by civil society.”

Only when we as societies realise that to stop terrorism we must fight a battle of ideas and not just of bullets, will we be able to stop the kind of attacks we have seen in the last month.

We must mobilise civil society to lead a full spectrum response to extremism of all kinds. As citizens, we must work as hard as the security services who continue to protect our physical security.

And we must reaffirm our commitment to liberté, egalité and fraternité, the very values that distinguish us from jihadist insurgents globally.

Let’s not give ISIS what they want.

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