25 August 2016

Quilliam is disappointed to find the HASC report on counter-extremism, ill-informed and outdated. The analysis provided by the committee and the proposals it advances reveals a clear lack of understanding of counter-extremism space and a conspicuous lack of innovative thinking on solutions to tackle it. Its attack on Internet firms ignores significant developments in the last year, including their cooperation with governments, support for civil society, and leadership on counterspeech initiatives.

Our research in Jihad Trending shows that while radicalisation often has an online element, is never without offline interaction. Contrary to the HASC report the Internet must therefore be seen as part of the solution not the root cause of the problem.

The report misses an opportunity to make progressive recommendations for the Prevent strategy, such as an independent review and an oversight board. Instead it focuses on peripheral issues like renaming the strategy, or insisting that “Daesh” is used instead of “so-called Islamic State”. We are united with other counter-extremism experts in thinking this report fails in meeting its main objectives and that its recommendations would not enable progress.

Head of Policy, Jonathan Russell, commented:

“Quilliam has made recommendations for tackling extremism online and developing a strategy for counterspeech which are being taken forward and making progress in a tricky environment. The HASC report adds little value in this space and misses the achievements that public-private-3rd sector partnerships have made in the last year.”

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