Looks like I’ll be holding down the fort from the US. I also am glad to be on board – thanks to Christian for including me.
Building on Dan’s commentary in the previous post, it’s noteworthy that UK Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly unveiled today a new Commission on Integration and Cohesion to start work in September. As described by the BBC, the commission is designed to “establish common values across society” and will tour the UK to better understand the economic and social gaps that exist between different ethnic groups. According to BBC:
…its work will include examining the fight against extremist ideas amid concerns from some Muslim leaders that they are not receiving enough help in combating the growth of radicalisation.
Muslim communities have been divided since the London bombings over how best to address radical movements associated with extremism, with some saying there is a small but serious problem and others denying terrorism is linked to Islamist thinking.
The commission is designed to carry on some of the research that followed riots in northern towns in 2001. Following that violence, experts warned the government some communities were leading “parallel lives” with little or no contact with each other.
In the wake of this month’s aviation plot, the commission will undoubtedly be pressed to provide recommendations to address the phenomenon of European extremism, which terrorism experts like Peter Bergen believe to be one of the “most pressing threats to America from al Qaeda.”