Our new report on the root causes of youth radicalisation, Enough is Enough reflects our growing sense of frustration that the UK is simply missing the point on youth radicalisation. Islamist radicalisation is a massive social and security issue – but it is only one of a number of forms of youth radicalisation that are reaching epidemic levels across many of our towns and cities. And as a nation we’re failing to respond properly to its root causes.
Because the truth is that Islamist radicalisation shares a significant number of root causes with gang-based radicalisation, political extremism, gun and knife crime and aggressive forms of racism. Many of us will recognise those root causes from our own communities: issues of identity and belonging among our young people; of deprivation and economic marginalisation; of mental health; of community and family breakdown.
We believe that MPs from all political parties need to engage with the findings of our report on the causes of youth radicalisation. To that end, we would be really grateful if you could please take some time to read the report and to write to your MP asking them to support this important policy development. If it’s helpful, you can use the template letter that we’ve prepared and is pasted below.
Radicalisation is one of the biggest problems faced by our society. I know that politicians from all political parties take it seriously and want to find a constructive solution to vulnerable young people being lead into political extremism, religious extremism or gang violence.
Recently, a charity that I support – The Oasis Foundation – has published a report exploring radicalisation, identifying its drivers and critiquing our current national response. I believe that a copy has been sent to you and I would be grateful if you could give it your attention. You can also view the report online at:
Enough is Enough: Addressing the Root Causes of Radicalisation provides a detailed review of academic and practitioner evidence, including Oasis’s own experience, of what drives youth radicalisation.
It identifies a significant number of common ‘push-factors’ shared by Islamist extremism, gang culture, political extremism and racial hatred, including: lack of identity, belonging and purpose, deprivation and economic marginalisation, mental health issues and community and family breakdown.
The report suggests that where these conditions exist, young people - particularly young men - will be vulnerable to the forces of radicalisation. The precise nature of that radicalisation will depend on context: a Muslim youth from Manchester’s Moss Side will be vulnerable to Islamist extremism, a black youth from Tottenham to gang culture, a white youth from coastal Kent to political extremism. But the root causes of radicalisation are crucially similar and far more deep-seated than any of our national policy responses suggest.
Enough is Enough goes on to argue that any meaningful response to youth radicalisation in all its many forms needs to take these complex layers of causality into account. Anti-radicalisation policy cannot simply focus on Islamist ideology and hope to resolve the crisis of youth radicalisation that is happening across our towns and cities.
As one of your constituents, I am very interested to learn what you think about this report and whether you feel there is anything that you can do to progress the recommendations it offers. In particular I would like your view on:
I look forward to hearing from you.