Haras Rafiq is a former Director of CENTRI, an organisation that specialises in countering extremism
It is clear that the horrific murder of a solider yesterday in Woolwich was an Islamist-inspired terror attack. A terrorist is defined by MI5 as "someone who uses or threatens action designed to influence the government...for the purposes of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause." This morning's reports suggest that the terrorists clearly made political statements after the murder - which was corroborated by eyewitness reports. In the words of one onlooker: “they didn't run off. They just stood there as if they were waiting for the police.”
David Cameron described the incident as "truly shocking". But how much has he and the Coalition government done to try and combat Islamist extremism? I have praised the Prime Minister for rightly making the distinction between Islam and Islamism. In 2010, I urged the Coallition Government to overturn the failed policy of using extremists to combat violent extremists. I was heartened when the Prevent review, published in 2001, pledged to implement the change I hoped for. Has it really happened?