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

Does World War I Echo in East Asia’s Growing Tensions?
Lessons of pre-WWI alliances, nationalism, and crises can help East Asia defuse its tensions today.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
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

October 27, 2014
Peacekeeping and the OSCE
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deployed a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of some 250 civilian international observers.

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

View More