On the fifteenth anniversary of the London 7/7 bombings a study by new think tank the Counter Extremism Group (CEG), which launches this week, warns that despite a rapid rise in the threat of far-right extremism, the dangers posed by Islamist extremism still remains the “dominant” threat. As was seen in recent attacks in London Bridge, Streatham and Reading.
Their first study paper prepared ahead of the Government review of its counter-terrorism Prevent strategy, calls for “a clear vision to effectively counter extremism and radicalisation into terrorism”. The 7/7 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the London transport system in 2005 left 52 dead and 700 injured. It remains the country’s deadliest ever terrorist attack and forced the then Labour government into the first of many changes to the law to give police and security services new tools to tackle terrorism.
The report warns that Prevent “has become confused”. It states:
“Many projects have focused on integration and cohesion rather than actively challenging the ideology of non-violent and violent extremists alike. Furthermore, the lack of clarity over what extremism is and who the Government is prepared to work with had led to inconsistent decisions being made by government departments and the public sector. … in some cases the Government and public bodies continue to engage with and be advised by extremism-linked individuals seeking to influence counter extremism policy.”
Robin Simcox, the former head of counter-terrorism at The Heritage Foundation is the newly appointed Director of the Counter Extremism Group, he tells Guido “Our work will involve identifying and researching the causes and manifestations of extremism and providing policy advice about how best to counter these threats to our way of life.”
The CEG will be supported by research director Hannah Stuart, who wrote today’s report, the former head of research for the Government’s independent Commission for Countering Extremism and Policy Exchange’s security wonk. Research fellow Emma Fox, who worked with the radicalisation and terrorism team at the Henry Jackson Society, completes the team.