Understanding the relationship between poverty, marginalisation and extremism

When somebody cannot get three square meals so there is a tendency for him to be influenced by somebody, or, by an ideology Boko Haram guys go up [to people and say] “if you join us… …everything that you need is guaranteed so, [you get] a line up of people wanting to join them and true to their [Boko Haram’s] promises, when they [the people] get to them, they get food… Young men that cannot think of marrying, or at least marriage for some time, are able to marry young ladies… But if the [social] system is taking care of everybody, no extremist ideology can influence the people Minorities in general are just an easy target for anybody’s discontent So whether it’s discontent around poverty or around self-esteem or access to power, or whether or not you have a voice in the world or any kind of attention it’s scape-goating, it’s an easy target [I see] groups like the EDL (English Defence League) and Britain First as foot soldiers They’re the ones that can push the boundaries and push our comfort levels so now we tolerate more hate speech, more discrimination, more persecution than we could five years ago or ten years ago Now, more and more language is acceptable that wasn’t before… so they push the boundaries and they’re
almost using… weaponising, I guess you could say, both democracy and freedom
of speech in order to get rid of freedom of speech because we no
longer hear that median voice where real conversations can happen, it’s always at this heightened level

Michael Martin

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