13 June, 2017
8:45 am - 10:00 am
The horrific terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, perpetrated in quick succession, exposed a need to rethink how the UK tackles violent extremism. Reform was delighted to host former Metropolitan Police Commander Makhdum Ali Chishty QPM to explore the subject.
Having retired a week earlier with 31 years of service, Chishty shared his deep experience of building community-police relations and working to reassure and support communities in the wake of an attack. He highlighted a shift in attitudes after the Manchester and London Bridge attacks, with an increase in hate crime and a hardening view that action, not words, were needed for Muslim community leaders.
Chishty discussed the need for a more nuanced understanding of the different sects and denominations that make up the ‘Muslim community’, in order to better tailor interventions – including public services.
The former Met Commander argued that a crisis in identify – both religious and personal – combined with deprivation, created the space for extremist ideology to take hold. Narratives of “grievance” or “injustice”, and conspiracy theories (for example that the police and security services were behind the recent attacks) must be challenged from within Muslim communities, and positive interventions put in place. A much more detailed understanding of where people are radicalised and by whom is needed.
Chishty made a “call to action”, arguing that a much more open discussion, with clear action, is needed. Challenging extremism was not about “defaming Islam”, but about driving positive change. Areas of vulnerability should be mapped, a charter of self-regulation should be established for mosques and madrasahs, gender equity should be pursued and Muslims of all denominations should use social media to denounce extremism, thereby reducing the space for extremist ideology online.
Watch the full speech below: