A study by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has concluded that a number of Muslim activist groups in the UK are promoting a worldview which “significantly overlaps” with that of a proscribed extremist organisation.
The report, which analysed the public messaging of Cage, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, Islamic Human Rights Commission and Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK, found that while none supported violence, all advanced the idea that Muslims in the UK are pitted against non-Muslims, the British government and the West, and that they are victims of a global anti-Muslim conspiracy.
TBI Policy Adviser Azmina Siddique said those ideas were “worryingly similar” to those spread by the Al Muhajiroun group, an antisemitic terrorist group formerly led by Anjem Choudary, who was convicted of inviting support for Isis in 2016.
According to the report, “Six key themes form this divisive worldview. These are victimisation, opposition between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims, opposition between Islam and the West, a delegitimisation of the government, the centrality of Islam in politics and justification of violence. There is a range of views on these six themes, with differing degrees of severity from mainstream to extreme.”
The report urged the government to respond by establishing a working definition of extremism, including identifying ideas that underpin both Islamist and far-right narratives.
In order to do this, it said, “the government and other political figures should also seek to broaden their engagement with different communities, with special attention on encouraging diverse voices from within communities to speak out on a variety of issues”.
It also backed the promotion of initiatives that teach young people how to engage in dialogue on difficult issues, the development of curriculum to promote digital literacy and critical thinking for all secondary-school students, and a boost in funding for organisations working to combat divisive influences on communities.