GCHQ can delete extremist content online all it wants, but it won’t help defeat ISIS

Originally Published by The Independent 6 November 2014. Original linked here.

Recent comments made by the head of Britain’s surveillance agency, Robert Hannigan, insinuate that social media companies are in part to blame for the ease in which jihadists and extremist groups use online tools to propagandise and recruit. Not only is this line of thought misguided, but it remains counterproductive to focus security measures on censorship initiatives that, invariably, target a symptom rather than its cause. It is imperative that security services evolve alongside the rapidly changing threat.

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Why are British women leaving the UK to join Isis in Iraq and Syria?

Originally Published by The Independent: 10 September 2014. Original linked here.

After reports of British women travelling to Syria to join Islamic State (IS), stories of female foreign fighters have been spreading like wildfire.In July of this year the story of the 16-year-old twins from Manchester, Salma and Zahra Halane, hit the headlines, detailing the girls’ journey into Turkey and across the Syrian border to join their brother, a suspected foreign fighter with IS.

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How polar extremisms fuel and support each other

Originally Published by Open Democracy: 4 September 2014. Original linked here.

Groups hold similar roots of discontent, such as poverty, discrimination and the sense of values under threat, but manifest these sentiments in an array of diverse extremist ideologies with highly varied targeted ‘Others’.

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Far-Right and Radical Islamists are Finding Common Ground in Homophobia, anti-Semitism and Conspiracy Theories

Originally Published in Left Foot Forward: 24 March 2014. Original linked here.

In the UK the radical right and radical Islamists are seen as obvious mortal enemies to one other, each producing the rhetoric and actions that fuel and justify the other’s stance. Yet we often assume that this social dynamic is organic instead of seeing it for what it really is: a culturally constructed narrative of ‘in-group’ and ‘out-group’, ‘self’ and ‘other’. This is most keenly exemplified by recent developments in France, where radical right and radical Islamists are uniting, finding common ground in homophobia, anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories about Zionism.

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