A New Approach to Counter-Radicalization

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pauline Neville-Jones, minister of state for security and counterterrorism in the United Kingdom, discusses the common problems Western countries face with countering Islamic radicalization and the need to reinforce the idea that democratic freedoms and Islam are companions and not opponents.

This session was part of the symposium, UK and U.S. Approaches in Countering Radicalization: Intelligence, Communities, and the Internet, which was cosponsored with Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies and King’s College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. This event was made possible by Georgetown University's George T. Kalaris Intelligence Studies Fund and the generous support of longtime CFR member Rita E. Hauser. Additionally, this event was organized in cooperation with the CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative.

JIM LINDSAY:  Good morning, everyone.  I am Jim Lindsay, director of studies here at the Council on Foreign Relations.  On behalf of Richard Haass, the president of CFR, and our partners in today's event, Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, I want to welcome you to our symposium here today:  "United Kingdom and U.S. Approaches in Countering Radicalization."

In putting together a conference like the one we have today, we have a big debt of gratitude and thanks to give a number of people.  And I'd like to single them out here.  On behalf of Georgetown University, I would like to thank Thomas Kalaris for his unwavering support for today's symposium and the George T. Kalaris Fund for Intelligence Studies at Georgetown University.  The fund is named in honor of Tom's father, an unsung hero of the U.S. intelligence services.  And the fund invests in the future of intelligence professional and intelligence studies at Georgetown's Center for Peace and Security Studies.

CFR would also like to thank longtime member and supporter, Rita Hauser.  Rita is an international lawyer who is deeply involved in intelligence work through her service on the president's Intelligence Advisory Board.  Rita, thank you very much for all your support.

I would also like to thank Georgetown University's Bruce Hoffman and Ellen McHugh, Henry Sweetbaum and Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.  I also owe some thanks to my colleagues here at CFR, led by Ed Husain and Steve Simon.  In addition, it takes a lot of people working in the background to make an event like today happen.  And my colleague Nancy Bodurtha heads up a truly outstanding meetings team here.  So I want to thank Nancy, Chris Tuttle, Emily Mcleod, Jeff Gullo, Allison Blou (sp) and Kate Collins for pulling today's conference together.

I have a couple of housekeeping details to go over.  First, today's sessions are all on the record with two exceptions.  The exceptions are session two on "Violent Radicalization -- Key Trends and Developments," and session six, "New Frontiers -- Countering Online Radicalization."  I would also politely request that if you have a BlackBerry, PDA, any other electronic device that sends or receives signals, if you could please turn it off right now so that it will not interfere with our sound system and put out squealing, very painful sounds over the speakers.  So I would appreciate that.

Why are we having today's symposium?  The answer is fairly straightforward.  The United States is experiencing a significant increase in violent Islamic extremism, both abroad and at home.  Ongoing events in the Middle East are a cause for concern about the probable rise of Islamic radicalism, at least in the short term.

At home, we have more and more instances of Americans either plotting attacks against their fellow Americans or attempting to travel overseas to receive terrorist training.  The Fort Hood shooting in November of 2009 and the near-successful car bombing in Times Square in May, 2010, are the most dramatic illustrations of this trend.

We are seeking in today's event to bring together leading officials and experts from the United Kingdom and the United States to take stock, to exchange best practices and to develop fresh ideas for tackling some of the most important issues in the current debate.  And I owe a great debt of gratitude to our British colleagues who traveled a considerable distance to get here this morning.  I only had to take a Metro subway ride.  They had to fly a long way.

We are honored to begin today's conversation with a truly distinguished keynote speaker, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, the United Kingdom's minister of state, responsible for security and counterterrorism.  Minister Neville-Jones has had a distinguished 30-year career as a diplomat, serving in posts around the world, including the former Rhodesia, Singapore, Washington and Bonn.  She was also seconded to the European Commission.  Minister Neville Jones has held her current position since May of 2010.

And with that, I would invite Minister Neville-Jones to come to the podium.

MINISTER OF STATE FOR SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM PAULINE NEVILLE-JONES:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Good morning, everyone.  Thank you very much for that kind introduction.  As has just been noted, I've spent time in my -- in my past, in Washington.  And I just want to say what a pleasure it is to come back.  I think that anybody who has spent time here seldom goes away feeling that they will ever entirely shake off the lure of this town.  And it is -- it is good to be here.

And as somebody who, you know, has had some experience in this subject -- and I understand that the administration is likely to be issuing a strategy in this -- in this -- in this policy area quite shortly -- I hope I can shed some light at any rate on the U.K. experience.  And I shall be talking from the point of view, obviously of U.K. experience.  Not everything that we've done or not everything that we've experienced is necessary -- necessarily relevant to the American context, but I do think there are some -- probably some problem -- some common both problems and solutions that we might be able to share and respectively benefit from.  And it is with that spirit that I'm going to talk with you this morning.

And as was well said, I bear this rather portentous title of minister of security and counterterrorism, and as a result of that have focused quite considerably since the coalition came into office last May in our approach to radicalization and countering it because we do regard it as a key part of any successful strategy.  And it's that that I will now focus on.

And I suppose it's worth starting, of course, amid -- you know, where does this story all begin?  Well, one thing's very clear, that terrorism isn't just a threat which is external to Western countries.  It's not simply a foreign menace that comes from overseas to strike our cities.  It can and it does, as we now know, come from within our own countries and from inside our own populations.  And I think it's fair to say that every single country in the West needs to wake up to what's happening within our own borders.

This means that we must strengthen the security aspect of our response, the capacity and capabilities of our intelligence agencies and of our law enforcement officers -- all part of the picture.

But it's only part of the solution, and we do have to get also to the root.  And we must tackle the ideology that fuels and drives radicalization and the circumstances which give that ideology appeal.  We need to act against the existence of a pervasive, perverse and pernicious political ideology which is Islamist extremism.

Now, let me stress emphatically that this does not mean tackling the religion of Islam, which is one of the great religions of the world.  Those on the right-wing extremist fringe who argue that is exactly what we should do, but they have it wrong.  Those who say that the West and Islam are eternally irreconcilable have more in common with the Islam extremists than they might like to think, for it's the very same argument of course advanced by al-Qaida.  And they do have it wrong.  We need to work with mainstream Islam.

Moreover, the events of last week in North Africa -- in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya -- have demonstrated that the populations of Muslim countries themselves see no incompatibility, and that they crave the freedoms that they see us in the West enjoying in our (land ?), and that's very important.  In our foreign -- and in our -- and our domestic policies, it should be a cardinal tenet that domestic -- that democratic freedoms and Islam are companions, and not opponents.

Now, as the British prime minister made clear in a recent speech which he gave the Munich Security Conference, Islamist extremist ideology is the problem; Islam is not.  So that brings us to the -- on to the question of what is it about Islamist extremist ideology which can lead ultimately to terrorism.  Clearly, rejection of democratic values need not of itself lead to violence.  By no means, all Islamists are terrorists.  So how does the process of radicalization work?

Now, there's been a great deal of academic research in universities and think tanks on radicalization.  And our and your intelligence agencies have also used their knowledge and covert information to try to come up with an answer.  And what emerges is the unremarkable conclusion that there is no single cause.  

Our work in Britain suggests that radicalization is driven by an ideology which claims that Muslims around the world are being oppressed and -- and this is the key bit of the argument -- which then legitimizes violence in their supposed defense.  This legitimization of violence is often coupled with a political vision:  the restoration of the caliphate, based on a purported reading of scriptures.

Now, this is a revolutionary message, and this revolutionary message is broadcast and amplified by a global network of influential propagandists who make extensive use of the Internet to penetrate societies across the globe.  And it finds an audience among individuals with specific personal vulnerabilities which make that ideology seem both attractive and compelling.  Where those vulnerable individuals are part of a community, be it an actual community or a virtual community, where extremist views are widely accepted, the legitimization of violence becomes easy, and the path to terrorism is thereby smoothed.

We know in the U.K. from our own citizenship surveys -- and I'll give you an example -- that in situations where people believe that ethnic and faith groups should not mix and where people are segregated from the rest of society, they are more likely to accept the extremist arguments.  And this is then liable to become an enabling context in which the espousal of violence is made easy.

The well-crafted online jihadist messaging has contributed powerfully to the perception of a single global terrorist campaign, which in fact is quite often carried on by otherwise separate terrorist groups, not always with the same interests or identities.  And we underestimate such a potent infrastructure and such a superficially powerful ideology at our peril.  And as our prime minister put it, we must confront and we must undermine it.  This will be a concerted effort from all governments, institutions and citizens -- all of us.

Now, in the U.K., we've had for some years a strategy to counter this radicalization, to stop people becoming terrorists.  There are parallels with the countering violent extremism programs which are being run in this country and I would -- about which I think Jane Lute will be talking later in the day.  Our strategy, which is called Prevent, is a key component of a broader strategy designed to counter all aspects of terrorism, which is called CONTEST.  

And it's fair to say that these days, in many places, the police and the local Muslim communities are now more willing to talk to each other frankly and constructively than previously about the threat of terrorism, the dangers of radicalization and how we should try to reduce them.  And the level of awareness of the dangers is much greater, and there is greater sense of shared purpose than was once the case.  Our information and understanding is slowly getting better.  The police have a mandate grounded in their community policing role to locate vulnerable individuals and to intervene to help them with -- and along with the cooperation of local government and voluntary community bodies.  And community-based groups have been engaged to provide anti- and de-radicalization services.  And we can report some successes in stopping people being radicalized or drawn into terrorism.

However -- there is a "however" -- we do think that the mistakes have blotted out a good deal of the progress.  There have been accusations of stigmatization and of the police spying on Muslim communities, and a perception, which has been lent false color, by the legitimate role of the police in personal interventions.  You can see how easy it is, actually, to mistake the one for the other, either willfully or unwittingly.

The government has also been accused of not -- of being only interested in British Muslims insofar as they represented a terrorist threat, and that their mainstream needs like health or education or housing were of no concern.  The government, it was said, was securitizing its approach to Muslim communities.

The result of this is that Prevent has gradually lost the trust and good will of many in the very communities it was designed to help.  More widely, it's being criticized also for trying to do too many things at once, for wasting money and also for spending it on the wrong projects.  It was clear that compared with the other parts of our counterterrorism strategy -- when the incoming coalition came in -- that we had to do something about this, because Prevent wasn't working and could be vastly improved.  And so that is what we have been focusing on.

Now, our first conclusion was that the segregation of communities was actually becoming more pronounced and that Prevent was in the wrong vehicle as it was designed to counter this.  Indeed, unless set in a wider policy context, I think it's clear that special programs are liable to have the effect opposite from that intended.  Far from uniting, they have a tendency to isolate, leading to accusations of stigmatization.

We reckon that we needed a unity strategy, a strategy of integration in its own right, of which Prevent would then be a component part rather than the other way around.  And in his Munich speech in February, the British prime minister said, quote, we must build stronger societies with stronger identities at home.

He criticized past government policies of state multiculturalism, which encourage differentiation between communities, instead, as we see the task, of actively fostering a sense of what we share and what we value.  Well, to give you an example of the kind of things we think we need to do, as part of the Big Society program, the government is introducing the National Citizen Service, in which 16-year-olds from all backgrounds and walks of life will spend two months living and working together.

We want to create a vision of a society to which all, including young Muslims, feel they want to belong and to participate in.  And we believe there's something that we can learn here from America.  You have created in your country a palpable sense of national identity, an American dream to which all can aspire and an acceptance of immigrant communities as Americans.

And it's a task that the British government seeks to create a similar sense of shared identity in our country.  And we need this, anyway, and it stands independently of counterterrorism.  It is, however, the framework within which we will challenge nonviolent and violent extremist views.  

So if our values mean anything, they must be equal to taking on opposing opinions, however hostile, in open debate.  And we won't discriminate.  We will confront all forms of extremism, from far left to far right, from neo-fascist to militant separatist.  The government will work actively in this task with those of all faiths and viewpoints who share our values.  We will not rely on extremists to combat violence merely because they do not espouse violence themselves.

And at the same time, we will not -- not permit the advocacy of violence.  We have laws against this, which we will enforce, and we will exclude from the U.K. those from abroad who have a track record of preaching or advocating violence.  

Our revised Prevent strategy will be implemented within the broad -- this broad context.  It will be more narrowly focused on violent extremism and the pathways that lead to the espousal of violence.  And since what is at issue is people and networks that they work and live in, it will be more granular in its approach dealing with people.  We need also to remember that the threat we face from terrorism is constantly evolving and that we need to be flexible in our response.

And at the core of the revised Prevent will be three "I"s -- ideology, institutions and individuals:  the ideology that supports terrorism and those who promote it; the institutions where radicalization may occur, which will be crucial in -- and which will also be crucial in disrupting its impact; and the individuals who are vulnerable to radicalization.

And I want to say a little bit more about each of these and why they're important; first of all, ideology.  Well, challenging extremism is part of the normal functioning of a democratic society and, as I have made clear, it finds an important place in our wider integration strategy.  But when it comes to the advocacy of violence and its espousal, a concerted response is required, which must be more focused and specialized than can be the case in the normal cut and thrust of democratic debate.  A sustained anti- and counterterrorist message is called for.  Much can and should be done at the local level by communities themselves.  And Prevent does focus on this, and it funds the projects.  

As I mentioned at the outset, the exploitation of the Internet also needs to be at the center of our attention.  This is a very serious issue.  The Internet plays an ever more significant role in the sedulous promotion of terrorism.  We know that in the U.K., groups gather to view the preaching of violent men located many thousands of miles away and that this does have a powerful effect on young minds.

We know that individuals have been radicalized to the point of being willing to kill -- and have tried to do this -- as the result of viewing websites carrying such material.  A British MP suffered serious injury in this way from a woman who came to see him in his constituency office.  And this is not just a stab at the man.  It is a stab at the open -- at open democracy.

And we must take action to stem this flow of poison, which comes across borders, and it requires international action.  Child pornography on the Internet stimulates evil activity in real life, and we go after it.  And we believe that we should go after websites and other Internet activity which enables or fosters terrorism.  We welcome the increasing awareness on the part of Internet providers of the dangers of such material, and we look forward to working with partners on effective action.  And for example -- I'll give you an example -- Google has now added a referral flag on YouTube for content which promotes terrorism, and we applaud this.

Government can also carry out activity directly, such as helping build the capacity of civil society organizations who are campaigning to build on the awareness of moderate organizations, encouraging the creation of websites that offer online topical advice for young Muslims, and engaging in online debate about extremist narrative and -- narratives and ideologies, get going at the local level.  And we also hope that civil society and concerned individuals directly will also be active.

My second point, institutions:  Now, our experience suggests that certain institutions -- such as prisons, universities and colleges, and, indeed, mosques -- may be especially vulnerable to the influence of charismatic radicalizers.  Our universities and colleges are conscious of their dedication to unfettered academic research and to freedom of expression.  And my goodness, the government respects this and will defend the rights of free speech, as we will defend the rights -- all citizens' rights to free speech.  

But we do believe that alongside this there is a responsibility which universities carry to ensure that these freedoms are not exploited and perverted by speakers, on or off campus, and that the pastoral care of students is taken seriously, and that individuals needing help and guidance are spotted, and that assistance is available to them.  And the training of English-speaking imams, as part of pastoral care, is absolutely fundamental to bonding the faith of young Muslims to the Western social context in which they find themselves.

The U.K. -- I just want to turn briefly to schools -- the U.K. has a thriving faith school sector, which offers some of the best education available, and that includes Muslim schools which receive public funding.  And we're not going to stop that, but we will seek to maintain national standards of instruction in those schools, as in all others.  

Now Muslims in Britain are disproportionately represented in our prisons.  We need to ensure that prison does not become an incubator of violent extremism, the closed society.  The U.K. is developing programs for prisoners, both inside and on release, to increase the likelihood of successful disruption of attempts at radicalization and recruitment, and of the chances of successful rehabilitation and reintegration into society.  I wouldn't like to claim this is easy, but it is very important.

Though (missions ?) have often -- mosques have often been, I think, seen as part of the problem, and there have been and there still are instances of this, today I think the issue is less one of mosques harboring preachers being suspected of fostering violent extremism, let alone being guilty of it.  It's more, in our view, one of a gap of confidence that still exists between the mosque and local authorities and the police.  And this is a gap which it will be vital -- vital -- to close if we are to be successful in dealing with my third "I," which is individuals.  You can see that the cooperation between local mosques and local communities and local authorities is very important.

Individuals.  Those individuals who are on the path to radicalization don't exist in a vacuum.  They live in neighborhoods, they meet friends and family, they use shops and businesses, and they come into contact with local community sector workers such as teachers, nurses or community police officers.  And these are individuals who may be well placed, especially if trained -- and that's one of the things we do -- to notice changes in behavior.   And it's when working with local community organizations or community groups who can provide personal deradicalization interventions that we get some of the best results.  These -- this is an invaluable route, and it is crucial, obviously, to have the support of local Muslim leaders -- vital, frankly, to long-term success.

So we've already had quite a bit of experience of this sort of work, and as I say, we found it to be helpful and cost-effective.  Hundreds of people have now been referred through our flagship Channel program.  This type of multi-agency intervention, called Channel, is enormously more cost-effective than maintaining an MI5 investigation or dealing with the consequences of a successful attack.  That's why Prevent is such an important pre-emptive part of the broader strategy.

Let me emphasize:  Channel is emphatically not about criminalizing people who have not committed an offense.  It is about helping them, and it's about drawing them back from the danger of radicalization and the espousal of violence.

But I think I ought to draw to a conclusion.  What I would say is, you know, the agenda ahead of us is a full one.  We will have to be determined and persevering and not expect, I think, lots of quick wins.  What we want is to turn the propaganda tide, get from the back foot to the front foot.  We have to create the values and institutions accepted by the whole of society, not just abroad, which is another task, but also, obviously, at home.  

We believe it can be done and that in the U.K., within the broader program of strengthening our collective identity, Prevent has a key role to play in dissuading people from being drawn by the siren message of violent jihad.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

LINDSAY:  Thank you, Minister, for a thoughtful set of remarks.

I'd like to begin with an issue you raised in your remarks about the role of integration and the importance of national identity.  You quite nicely complimented Americans on a strong sense of national identity and the great pride that Americans have in incorporating immigrants in society.  And I think because of that, for many years Americans thought that they were immune from the risk of homegrown radicalization.  

But recently we've been forced to grapple with this problem.  Why do you think it is that America's facing this challenge, given that it has this history of incorporating immigrants?

NEVILLE-JONES:  Well, I think -- I think it's necessary but not sufficient is probably my first answer.  And we don't have enough of it.  And so as we think of it, actually, it is the framework within which you can then deal with a specific problem.  That's why we have laid on that -- a lot of emphasis on that necessary framework.

I think it's not sufficient because -- I hope, as I tried to make clear, there is -- a healthy democracy will conduct a -- you know, a really strong cut and thrust, and you will argue through your values and you will -- and it's a very, very important part of living your -- living your beliefs.  

But if you get to -- when it comes to people who are preaching to potentially rather closed communities and who have successfully drawn people away from listening to that democratic debate, participating in that democratic debate, being willing -- being willing components of society -- and we have some of that -- then it is very important actually to carry out, I think, you know, specific interventions designed actually to get at that kind of community.  

And that is where I think we feel that we have to have a specific program.  It works best when it is conducted by Muslims themselves.  There isn't any doubt about that.  And so one of the absolutely key things we have to do is to gain the confidence of the Muslim community in this country, such that they are willing themselves to lead these programs.

We've gone a bit down this road.  We haven't -- I mean, in a sense we've pilot tested what we need to do.  We know it works, but it's got to be much broader.  And that is why I can't help feeling, in the end, if Muslims are going to be willing to do that, they must feel two things:  one, that they are proud of the broader society and that actually they have rights as well as duties in the place and that they are regarded as equal Brits, and that what they're doing is valued.

So I think it's partly -- doesn't come to all of this, but it can give leadership.  And I think it's the -- getting into that little corner that you've got to get into which I think is important.  I don't know if that responds to American experience, but it's certainly, I think, where we feel that you have to underpin the values of democracy by doing actually a special program.

LINDSAY:  But I take it from your remarks that there's a challenge in doing that and doing it well.

NEVILLE-JONES:  There is.  There is.

LINDSAY:  Because you run into the issue -- you spoke of stigmatization in creating it.  And I think obviously in the American context, as this issue has emerged there's a great deal of fear that what Americans are going to do or what the U.S. government will do will lead to stigmatization of Muslims and will actually make the problem worse rather than better.

NEVILLE-JONES:  Absolutely.

LINDSAY:  And I guess I'd draw you out a little bit about sort of your thoughts --

NEVILLE-JONES:  This is not easy stuff.

LINDSAY:  No.  Just from your perspective of -- from the British perspective, you know, what are the lessons you learned; how do you avoid committing the error you know you shouldn't commit?

NEVILLE-JONES:  Well, I mean, we didn't entirely avoid it.  I mean, we have actually had this problem.  And I'll give you one example of where different parts of a strategy actually do damage to each other.  As you know, we've had -- I mean we have to have, given the nature of the kind of plots that we've had to deal with, of course, we've had a very vigorous (pursue ?) strategy alongside that, which deals with -- directly with counterterrorism.  Now, it's not too difficult to find those things entangled.  So that's one danger.

Second danger is -- and, of course, exploited, wittingly -- and there have been mistakes, as well.  I'll give you one example.  The police force in one area in the country put put a whole lot of CCTV cameras.  They didn't explain what they were doing.

LINDSAY:  These are closed caption television cameras?

NEVILLE-JONES:  Yes, that's right, some sort of.  And it gave rise -- it gave rise to the accusation that this is "big brother."  So you do have to be transparent about what you're doing.  You do -- I mean, the government does have constantly to explain what's happening.  It's also why in the end of the day you can only do it locally.  I mean, it's really on the ground where the local community is operating, where there's confidence.  

The key, key component in all of this is trust and confidence.  And we have to rebuilt a bit of that because there has been -- you know, there has been an erosion.  I think we believe that people start again; you can't just accept that having made a mistake, you abandon the objective.  But you can see we have tried to reshape the framework within which it stands and put what we believe to be the dominant thing, which is getting the country together, as the overall framework.  And then there is Prevent within it.  And we've changed the way the money's spent.  We have put the integration strategy into the hands of a different government department so that it's quite clear that, you know, this is a different activity.

But I come back in the end to saying that we have to gain confidence, and we have to work very carefully at the whole business of personal and individual intervention.  I do believe at the end of the day this is a very granular thing.  You're dealing with people.  You're dealing with individuals.  And the best people to deal with individuals are those who are close to them, those who they think have some regard for them; you know, the so-called role model.  And so it's there that we have to go.  This is -- we have to build a strategy.

LINDSAY:  When you talk about reaching out to individuals, that's, as I understand it, the purpose of your channel program, to sort of --

NEVILLE-JONES:  That's right.  That's right.

LINDSAY:  -- engage friends, families, the community.  Can I just draw you out a little bit more about how that works in practice?

NEVILLE-JONES:  Well, it works -- it literally works, you know, in long sessions with individuals.  The basing issues.  Arguing.  Going over the territory.  Coming back to the issue.  And it's hearts-and-minds stuff, but particularly mind stuff.  What is this world about?  I mean, it goes to absolute fundamentals about what people think they're there for.

Now, if you start getting somewhere with someone, what you then want to ensure is that they've got a job, that actually they feel their family has a future.  So there are a whole series of other things that need to accompany that.  So you start not just change the mindset, but also reintegrate.  So multiagency working can be very important in this.

LINDSAY:  Okay.  

At this point, Minister, I'd like to bring the audience into our conversation here.  I would ask you to please wait for the microphone, and when you get a microphone, to please speak into it.  Please stand, state your name and affiliation.  And I would ask people keep their questions concise and short and that there be a question so we can do as many of these as possible.

Yes, sir.  I promised the minister I will keep her on schedule.

QUESTIONER:  Madam Minister, Arnaud de Borchgrave, CSIS.  What can you tell us about the 400,000 Pakistanis who go back and forth between the U.K. and FATA or other parts of Pakistan?  And how does one persuade those people vis-a-vis those who live in England permanently and never go back to Pakistan?

NEVILLE-JONES:  Quite right, the single largest Muslim community in the U.K. is subcontinental.  And there is a lot of modern communication and modern travel, means there's a lot of coming and going.  We should be quite clear that it is a tiny, tiny fraction of those people who travel backwards and forwards who are up to no good.  And if you ask the average Pakistani-origin Brit, what do you think about that, they will give you the answer, this isn't -- we don't want to have anything to do with this.  That's absolutely clear.

What we have to establish, however, is the willingness of individuals actually to come and say there is a problem here, we think we've got a -- we've got a problem in our local community.  And that's the gap that we have to bridge.  And it does happen.  It does happen.  Some of the most important pieces of information that the authorities have ever received in the U.K. have come from individuals in the Pakistan community.  And that's precisely what we want to encourage.

So I think it is.  It's a feeling that I can be (onside ?).  I don't need to be -- I'm not -- I'm neither going to be neutral nor am I going to be with these guys.  I'm going to be (onside ?) with the rest of society.  That's the bit that we've got to try and accomplish.

I think -- I have to say that I do think we've got a real opportunity at the moment.  I mean, if you look at what's going on in the Middle East, there's a huge tide there that we ought to be able to do something about.  It's preaching to -- the kind of -- it's -- of messages that we want to get across, that Islam, Western values, can ride together.  

So I think that part of -- you know, part of our -- the way we go about this also, of course, is the way we interpret the world to our own -- to our own societies and how they see how they fit in.

So I think foreign policy -- and I'm -- you know, there's too much -- we don't have enough time to go into all of these issues, but foreign policy and how government both explains and defends its foreign policy, I mean, is quite an important part of overall mindset, and it particularly applies when it comes to an issue like Pakistan.

The British government is very, very clear that we have a strategic relationship with the Pakistan government in a cooperative enterprise against terrorism.  So we don't set them as -- you know, as our opponents.  We set them as our partners, and they are indeed.  It's a difficult task between us, as we know.

So I think that we -- I think we got our messaging right on that.  We just have to get that little bit more link-up where people say:  Right, I think there's something wrong here; I'm going to go and talk to the -- going to go and talk to the -- I'm going to go and talk to the imam, and the imam I know will go and do what's necessary.


QUESTIONER:  Hello.  My name's Timothy Reuter (sp).

And I've heard you say just now two things that sound to me a little bit like they might be in tension with each other.  One is, you talked about the narrative that al-Qaida and other organizations put forward --


QUESTIONER:  -- that, first, Muslims are embattled and under attack around the world and, second, that the proper response is a violent one.  And now you just talked about the fact that Britain has a strategic relationship with the Pakistani government.  So how do you take apart the narrative that you talked about for those who believe that the Pakistani government is part of what's oppressing Muslims in that part of the world?  And now we've said that you have an explicit policy of backing them on at least a number of issues, so how do you sort that out and explain it?  Thank you very much.

NEVILLE-JONES:  Well, having a strategic relationship with a government doesn't mean that you necessarily, you know, endorse or back every single thing that happens under the roof of that country.  I think on the other hand, though, I would defend very vigorously the Pakistani government in its attempts to deal with terrorism on its own soil.  I think it faces a very, very difficult problem, and their difficulties are not going to be dealt with with -- you know, with -- at all easily.  And it's part of our -- you know, part of our policy to try and help.

The situation in Pakistan is very -- is very -- obviously very complex.  Because it's very complex, though, and because it's difficult, it is precisely why on the whole you need to try and help.  And we help in all sorts of ways, including of course helping the underlying structures of Pakistan society.  We put a lot of money into education, we put a lot of money into trying actually to make the underpinning of Pakistan such that, you know, both education and economic activity are available to more people.  I mean, these are absolute fundamentals for getting -- you know, for getting a stable society in that part of the world.  And it's an important part of our policy.  And I don't think we see any contradiction between, you know, that kind of long-term -- like I said in my speech, there are no quick wins in this -- that kind of long-term support and a -- and working together, you know, against violence.

LINDSAY:  I think we have time for one more question.  Now, before I take the question, I want to remind everybody that this session is on the record.

And in fairness, I'm going to go to the back of the room, since the first two questions came to the front, and the young lady all the way at the end, last row.

QUESTIONER:  Thank you.  Cambria Hamburg, with the Department of State.

What is the U.K. government's approach to engaging with allies, moderate voices in the Muslim community -- or maybe some not so moderate voices, but nevertheless leaders who, you know, espouse a nonviolent approach but maybe do support a Salafi ideology?  Thank you.

NEVILLE-JONES:  I didn't entirely hear it, but I think it's a question about the attitudes of nonviolent Islamism; is that right?

QUESTIONER:  (Off mic.)

NEVILLE-JONES:  Yes, well, I think -- I think --

LINDSAY:  Microphone.

NEVILLE-JONES:  Clearly, what we are -- what we are concerned with is the transition to violence.  And it's there that we will focus prevent money.  I did make clear, however, that one of the things -- and this is, I think, the difference between ourselves and our predecessors -- is that we do not believe it right to try and work through the agency of those who are themselves on the separatist tendency or extremist in their views and use them as agents simply because they're not violent.  I think we do believe that you can only do this effectively with people who share your values.  And we want, obviously, for that -- and we do believe that -- resources available, that Muslims who share our values will help us and that we will be together in this.

But we're not, I think, partisans of the notion that somehow you can easily get the right result by trying to work through the agency of those who themselves don't share your value systems.  And it goes, obviously, to your analysis partly of how you think the relationship between extremism and extreme values and values that aren't ours and actual -- the actual espousal of violence works.  And we don't trust the notion that somehow you can -- you can effectively deal with preventing and discouraging people from violence working through those who are not of the -- of your own value system.

LINDSAY:  Minister, I know you have a very busy schedule today.  I want to say on behalf of all of the sponsors of today's event thank you very much for giving (up such strong thoughts ?).  (Applause.)

NEVILLE-JONES:  Thank you.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity.  (Applause.)

I'm very pleased -- very pleased to have had the opportunity to come.  Thank you.





















Top Stories on CFR

Election 2024

The Ohio senator is Donald Trump’s choice as his running mate for the 2024 presidential election.

Election 2024

After a shooting that injured former President Donald Trump and killed a spectator at a campaign rally, leaders of both parties must unite behind efforts to calm and stabilize the political climate.

Immigration and Migration