Transmitted 13 May 2015. Posted 18 May 2015.
On 13 May 2015 the Islam Channel's current affairs programme "The Report" had a segment on the Counter-Extremism proposals which had been announced that morning in a press release on the Home Office website. The proposals are very similar to those announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in a speech on 23 March 2015, but the press release does not mention all of the items covered in her speech.
The presenter was John Rees and the members of the panel were:
You can watch the 19 minute programme below.
The key points I made during the discussion were:
I never attempt to summarise the views of other panellists which can be seen on the video. However there are two points I want to mention on this occasion:
Dilly Hussain appears to deny the entire concept of non-violent extremism. He uses the "Conveyor Belt Theory" argument, which I have described in the linked piece as an "Aunt Sally".
Talha Ahmad appears to call for a national conversation about radicalisation, which I regard as desirable. However the MCB appears unable to make up its mind whether it accepts that radicalisation and non-violent extremism are real phenomena.
On 9 March 2015 it wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister bringing up the same "Aunt Sally" argument as Dilly Hussain about the Conveyor Belt Theory: "Rather than relying on a premise of a conveyor belt from conservative and non-violent extremism to violent extremism that lacks credence, a fresh approach is required".
Conversely in the past the MCB has appeared to at least acknowledge that (non-violent) extremism exists, even if it cannot bring itself to use the term "non-violent extremism"; for example in its statement "Muslim Council of Britain responds to Announcement of Government Taskforce on Extremism." In my view it needs to make its mind up on where it stands.