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Sympathy	for	terrorism:	
inspecting	the	evidence
Shamit	Saggar
ISER,	University of	Essex
International	conference „Integration Challenges in	a	Radicalizing World“
29	– 30	November	2016,	Tallinn,	Estonia
Overview
The	circle	of	tacit	support	for	violent	extremism
a)	what	are	the	key	gaps	in	the	evidence	base?
b)	is	there	a	relationship	between	non-violent	
extremism	and	violent	extremism?
c)	what	is	the	sensible	place	for	government	to	
intervene?
The circle of tacit support
Extremist	
action	
including	
violence
Moderate,	
mainstream
Circle	of	tacit	
support	for	
extremism
When you see
what’s going on
in Israel,
something comes
into your mind,
something just
goes.”
[Mohammed
Zahid, 23, quoted
in NYTimes,
5/03, following
Tel Aviv suicide
bombing]
Gaps in policy-relevant knowledge
• Timeliness	and	availability
• Muslim	identity	as	a	collective	transcending	identity
• Objective	exclusion	/	subjective	marginalization
• Newtonian	principles
• Organizational	behaviour
Violent and non-violent extremism
• The	human	condition
• Expressing	sympathy	vs	condoning	violence
• Muslim	identity	as	a	replacement	identity	due	to	
alienation
• Trust	in	institutions
• Political	efficacy/influence
• Participation
• Sense	of	belonging
• Misplaced	attention	on	Muslim	integration
Government intervention I
• Aligning	research	insights	with	policy	
instruments:
• Authority – laying	down	rules	in	
advance	- monitoring	compliance	
and	shrewd	use	of	enforcement
• Transactional – specifying	outputs	
in	advance	and	holding	others	to	
account	for	these
• Persuasional – collaboration,	co-
production	through	invitation,	
cajoling,	criticism,	praise,	etc.
• Boomerang	traps:	e.g.	tackling	violent	
extremism	– erosion	of	trust	erosion	
and	problem	multiplication
Government intervention I I
1. Levels and patterns of social
exclusion - e.g. in the labour
market, in schools, etc.
2. Trending toward isolation or
connectedness – e.g. particular
key elements of bridging and
bonding social capital
3. Presence of an external
reference or oppositional rallying
call – e.g. “left behind” groups
and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis
4. Dynamics of global Islam –
e.g. the “hotness” of these
influences in Britain
> Better engagement with
BMCs by government
> Fostering greater capacity
within mainstream Islam
> More informed choices in
policing extremism and
marginalising tacit support
for extremism
> Greater sensitising of
existing public policy, e.g. in
education, family law,
citizen redress, etc.
> Building improved human
capital and delivering
economic integration
Key	policy
choices
√
Presentation given at	International	conference
Integration Challenges in	a	Radicalising World
29	– 30	November	2016	in	Tallinn,	Estonia
For	more	conference	materials	and	presentations
please	visit www.misakonverents.ee

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Sympathy for Terrorism: Inspecting the Evidence

  • 3. The circle of tacit support Extremist action including violence Moderate, mainstream Circle of tacit support for extremism When you see what’s going on in Israel, something comes into your mind, something just goes.” [Mohammed Zahid, 23, quoted in NYTimes, 5/03, following Tel Aviv suicide bombing]
  • 4. Gaps in policy-relevant knowledge • Timeliness and availability • Muslim identity as a collective transcending identity • Objective exclusion / subjective marginalization • Newtonian principles • Organizational behaviour
  • 5. Violent and non-violent extremism • The human condition • Expressing sympathy vs condoning violence • Muslim identity as a replacement identity due to alienation • Trust in institutions • Political efficacy/influence • Participation • Sense of belonging • Misplaced attention on Muslim integration
  • 6. Government intervention I • Aligning research insights with policy instruments: • Authority – laying down rules in advance - monitoring compliance and shrewd use of enforcement • Transactional – specifying outputs in advance and holding others to account for these • Persuasional – collaboration, co- production through invitation, cajoling, criticism, praise, etc. • Boomerang traps: e.g. tackling violent extremism – erosion of trust erosion and problem multiplication
  • 7. Government intervention I I 1. Levels and patterns of social exclusion - e.g. in the labour market, in schools, etc. 2. Trending toward isolation or connectedness – e.g. particular key elements of bridging and bonding social capital 3. Presence of an external reference or oppositional rallying call – e.g. “left behind” groups and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis 4. Dynamics of global Islam – e.g. the “hotness” of these influences in Britain > Better engagement with BMCs by government > Fostering greater capacity within mainstream Islam > More informed choices in policing extremism and marginalising tacit support for extremism > Greater sensitising of existing public policy, e.g. in education, family law, citizen redress, etc. > Building improved human capital and delivering economic integration Key policy choices √
  • 8. Presentation given at International conference Integration Challenges in a Radicalising World 29 – 30 November 2016 in Tallinn, Estonia For more conference materials and presentations please visit www.misakonverents.ee