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Concept.png "Extremism" 
(enemy image)
Interest of • Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism
• Alex Schmid

"Extremism" is an enemy image used to designate enemies of the state.

Official narrative

The Western commercially-controlled media often use the word "extremism" is conjunction with "religious", particularly "Islamic" - (i.e. "Islamic extremism"), sometimes in the compound "domestic extremism", but rarely in conjunction with other religions. The word is a flexible one which lacks much of a proper definition. It is pejorative and exonymic - i.e. people use it to put down other people, and never apply it to themselves. One look on a search engine will conform the standard usage.

Lack of definition

“Words strain - Crack and sometimes break, under the burden - Under the tension, slip, slide, perish - Will not stay still...
For last year's words belong to last year's language - And next year's words await another voice.”

T.S. Elliot (1943)    —   [1]

Sociology professor David Miller has suggested that corporate media appear to be stoking fear of Islam by very disproportionate reporting of "Islamic extremists".[2] This is does as a component of the "war on terror" narrative used to facilitate the changing of laws purportedly intended to fight "terrorism". Once passed, the lack of a legal definition of "extremism" or "terrorism" means that they are routinely used to facilitate social control such as mass surveillance of entire populations. An "extremist" becomes anyone who expresses dissenting opinions to that which the nation state promotes.

In practice

The lack of a proper definition have allowed different agencies within the UK government to use the word "extremism" in contradictory ways.[3] The purported 'research' into counter-extremism is so unempirical and vague as to not really merit that term. Nafeez Ahmed has referred to it as "astonishingly crap".[4] Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner promised when the Met's "anti-extremism unit" was set up that it would target serious criminals rather than peaceful protesters, but it has been used against senior UK Green party members Caroline Lucas and Sian Berry.[5]


Full articles: “Violent extremism”, “Non-violent extremism”

The phrase "violent extremism" is an increasingly common phrase which appears to be used as a replacement for the word "terrorism", which also is problematic as regards definition. Although the label "extremism" is associated with violence, some governments have used the phrase "non-violent extremism" when drafting legislation. Alex Schmid of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism argued that “the distinction between “non-violent extremism” and “violent extremism” is not a valid one.”[1]

In schools

The FBI has been borrowing from the UK's PREVENT programme, encouraging high schools to report anyone who criticises government policy as potential future "terrorists", warning that “anarchist extremists” are in the same category as ISIS.[6]


China appears to be collaborating with the anti-extremist meme. In 2017 it announced many restrictions on dress, cultural life, banning "abnormal beards" etc. in the majority Moslem province of Xinjiang. These were claimed to be measures to fight "extremism".[7]  


     Page name     Description
Domestic extremismAn enemy image used to try to justify repression of alternative ideas
Non-violent extremismAn enemy image used to try to justify violent repression of those who advocate non-violent change.

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
File:FBI-Extremist Symbols 2006.pdfreport9 November 2006(U//LES//FOUO) The Colorado Information Analysis Center has received information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Joint Terrorism Task Force (FBI/JTTF) regarding extremist symbols, tattoos and terminology. The following is a guideline for possible identification of members and or activists related to the individual groups
The Astonishingly Crap Science of 'Counter-Extremism'webpage17 March 2016Nafeez Mosaddeq AhmedAn expose of the crass lack of any valid scientific basis of government strategies to fight radicalisation. Nafeez Ahmed agrues that the "most academically accurate concept to capture this absurd level of crappiness is ‘bullshit’".
Unthinking extremism - Radicalising narratives that legitimise surveillancepaper26 October 2015Ben Harbisher

Related Quotations

Nonviolence“preventing violent extremism is not enough; rather all extremism – Islamist and other – ought to be prevented, given the bloody track record of extremism in power in the twentieth century and beyond. Rather than distinguishing between non-violent and violent extremists, we should distinguish between extremists and non-extremists and support the latter against Islamists at home and abroad. Governments should challenge and resist all extremism, whether it is violent or not, whether it is Islamist or not.”Alex SchmidMay 2014
Theresa May“There is to be frank, far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.”Theresa May2017


Facts about "Extremism"
ConstitutesEnemy image +
Display docTypeWikiSpooks Page +
Display imageFile:Extremism.jpg +
Display image2File:Extremism.jpg +
Has fullPageNameExtremism +
Has fullPageNameeExtremism +
Has imageFile:Extremism.jpg +
Has image2File:Extremism.jpg +
Has noRatings0 +
Has objectClassConcept +
Has objectClass2Concept +
Has revisionSize4,535 +
Has revisionUserRobin +
Has wikipediaPagehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremism +
Has wikipediaPage2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremism +
Is not stubtrue +
So calledtrue +
Has subobject
"Has subobject" is a predefined property representing a container construct that allows to accumulate property-value assignments similar to that of a normal wiki page.
Extremism + and Extremism +