IPI HomeEventsSpeakers EventsEd Husain: “You Do Not Tolerate Intolerance—You Challenge It”

 

print print  |  share share back back

Speaker Events - Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ed Husain: “You Do Not Tolerate Intolerance—You Challenge It”

Ed Husain, an English-born Muslim of immigrant parents, spent five years of his life as a radical Islamist in Britain but now heads a think-tank on countering Islamic extremism. In addition, he has written a book called The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw, and Why I Left, and he is the co-director of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremist think tank in London that seeks to “promote pluralism.”

Husain came to IPI on June 22 to talk about his life, his book, his foundation, and his effort to make sure that other young Muslims in Britain don’t follow the early path he did.

He theorized four reasons for youths becoming radicalized and intolerant of others who don’t share their extreme beliefs—a quest for a comforting identity, the lure of ideology, the exploitation of grievances, and the power of the Internet to disseminate this sense of victimization and need to gain cultural dominance, even if it requires violence.

He said that Britain’s “patronizing” policies towards immigrants isolates them from the mainstream and breeds extremism.

“I think there’s a lot of imperial guilt in Britain—there still is—that we went around, sort of creating empires, and now we should bend over backwards to make sure the children of empire aren’t in some way subjugated. Maybe from my father’s generation that was bright, but I think for my generation, that’s patronizing.”

He said that before the July 7, 2005 bombings in London, Britain was “exceptionally tolerant of the intolerant” and cited examples from his student days, including one incident where his college management agreed to facilitate a mosque on campus for radical students.

“You do not tolerate intolerance—you challenge it,” he said.

The event was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI Vice President for External Relations.

 Read transcript

The Global Observatory

Are Recent Prison Breaks in Nigeria Part of a Southward Expansion by Boko Haram?
Whoever is behind them, these prison breaks signal that Nigeria’s authorities are struggling to maintain the rule of law, not just in the far northeast, but also in the Middle Belt and the southwest.

Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

December 09, 2014
Small States in a Multilateral World
Despite their size and limited resources, small states have an important and crucial role to play in the multilateral system and can leverage their power through cooperation.

December 02, 2014
Protecting Civilians in Armed Conflict: From Concept to Norm
Five years after the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1894, the concept of Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (PoC) has become a widely accepted norm at the UN, featuring more and more in Council mandates and becoming a cornerstone of UN missions on the ground.

November 27, 2014
Dialogue on Multilateralism Continues in Geneva
The Geneva launch of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) took place on November 27th in the Palais de Nations, the UN headquarters in Geneva which used to be the seat of the League of Nations.

View More