The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has released a report titled “Narratives of Division: The Spectrum of Islamist Worldviews in the UK” which found that a number of UK Islamic activist groups promote views that align with proscribed extremist groups.
The report focuses on five Muslim activist groups that UK authorities have criticised for promoting problematic or extreme views, although they do not advocate violence: CAGE, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain (HT), the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK), and Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND). This report assesses whether there is any substance to such accusations by analysing the public messages of these groups and comparing them against a baseline of extremist messaging.
The report found that: “Most of the groups analysed promote a divisive view of the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK through their public messaging. HT, MPACUK, IHRC and CAGE use their public content to advance a worldview in which Muslims in the UK and around the world are in an intractable state of tension and conflict with non-Muslims. MEND’s recent public messaging does not share this worldview.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has sought to highlight the problematic views of some of these organisations, including IHRC, the organisers of the annual pro-Hizballah parade through central London, and MPACUK, which in 2017 tweeted its congratulations to Ecuador after Horacio Sevilla Borja, an Ecuadorian diplomat, said that he did not think there was “anything more similar” to Nazi persecution than Israeli policy, which is antisemitic under the terms of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
In his foreword to the report, Mr Blair concluded that: “Unless deeply divisive narratives that undermine the relationship between Muslims and broader British society are rooted out, the threat of Islamist extremism will not be defeated. Often, when people think of this challenge, they focus entirely on violent jihadi groups. Yet as this report shows, many of the central ideas that British Muslims are hearing today from some activist groups are worryingly similar to the ideology of violent extremist groups. To succeed in our struggle against extremism, we must do more to counter the core ideas that fuel it.”