Terrorism and Extremism

Terrorism and extremism are sometimes used interchangeably. Both pose a threat to students but they have very distinct definitions.

Terrorism is an action or threat designed to influence the government or intimidate the public. Its purpose is to advance a political, religious or ideological cause. The current UK definition of terrorism is given in the Terrorism Act 2006.

In the UK we define terrorism as a violent action that:

  • Endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action
  • Involves serious violence against a person
  • Causes serious damage to property
  • Creates a serious risk to the public’s health and safety
  • Interferes with or seriously disrupts an electronic system

But how does terrorism differ from extremism? The Counter Extremism Strategy 2015 says: “Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and respect and tolerance for different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.”

It’s important to remember that not all extremist groups, whether Islamist, far-right or other, will commit terrorist or violent acts. However, some groups pose particular threats, both online and offline.

Resources

Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This guidance helps schools to develop an awareness and understanding of the risk of radicalisation and take steps to appropriately report and manage those risks in line with the law.

A Metropolitan police fact file including what is and is not defined as terrorism, and links to contact the Met.

An interactive resource designed for Further Education students to build resilience to radicalisation. The resource consists of four separate e-learning modules focused on the themes of extremism, radicalisation and British values. The four modules are made up of a mixture of narrative videos, interactive quizzes and e-learning content. There are also video interviews with talking heads and FE students and animations. This is accompanied by a facilitator pack for staff, featuring lesson plans and activities related to the modules. Participants need to sign up and login to access resources so progress can be tracked.

A downloadable booklet for teachers about how to increase your pupils’ resilience to extremism, produced by Educate Against Hate.