International Politics and Terrorism: A Conceptual Problems


Discuss Sedgwick's contention (2010:490) that "despite its popularity the term 'radicalization' is a source of confusion" with reference to strategies to prevent violent extremism in the UK.


This is a work on International Politics which is based on Mark Sedgwick’s view on the ubiquity of the term radicalization used popularly in U.K and other parts of the world to determine and deemed it as the cause of terrorist activities across the globe. The work draws inputs from Mr. Sedgwick 2010 journal and other related sites to signify that the use of the term “Radicalization” in itself is a problem as it is counter-productive and used by various ideologues with different purpose to justify their cause. 


Today we are living in a world where almost every country’ s policy all over the world have one thing in common and that is the “Counter Terrorism Policy” and ironically more policies are turning out to be counter-productive and complicating the issues further. The main perceived objective behind the policy is said to be ‘’Establishment of World Peace Order” by rooting out the terrorists and terrorist activities across middle east and European countries where terrorism is a major issue. The globalization of anti-terror campaign around the world took place right after 9/11 attacks on USA when the most powerful country of the world formed alliances with other major powers to wage war against AL-Qaeda and its associates operating in Afghanistan. The intrusion was followed by Iraq war which turned out to be a blunder giving rise to killings of innocent lives and further affecting the world peace order. Recently, the rise of Isis in Iraq and Syria has grabbed full attention. In all the war America is engaged with U.K is its major ally and along with U.S.A it has been formulating anti-terror policies since 2006 to prevent terrorist attacks and influence of terrorism. For this purpose, the administration of U.S and U.K have formed various intelligence committee to find out the root cause of terrorism deemed very crucial to fight terror and terrorism.

Perceived cause of terrorist attacks as per U.K government

The intelligence and survey committee formed to find out the root cause of terrorism attributed the cause to the radical version of Islam and determined that radicalization is the main threat to British values and cultures. Most of the committee report defined radicalism as people of Islamic belief practicing mandatory prayers along with wearing traditional Islamic clothes and beard. This assumption is rooted from findings of Bernard Lewis, a key advisor to George Bush administration on affairs of middle east that Islamic cultures’ resistance to modernism and western values in the middle east and other parts of the country is the deep cause of terrorist attacks. He also asserted that the situation had boiled hot to such a degree that war was the only way out. Mr. Tony Blair, the then prime minister of Great Britain agreed to it and extended his administration’s support to US invasion of Iraq thus angering the British Fraternity of Islam. There was also neo-conservatism in USA which held salafi version of Islam as the main source of radicalism and the version by and large constitute the major population of Islam. This led to majority of adherents of Islam to perceive western power more as threat to their religion.

Why radicalism not the main threat

The findings of Bernard Lewis and neo conservatism along with other findings by intelligence committee of U.K attributing radical Islam as the main culprit of terrorism has many loopholes. The findings of think tank including  Laura Grossman, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Arvin Bhatt and Mitchell D. Silber attributing radicalism as the main threat and cause of terrorism did not consider the majority part of adherents of radical Islam who do not support terrorism and are not involved in any terrorist activities (Sedgwick, 2010). Moreover, they seem less concerned to root out the radical political cause behind terrorist activities despite agreeing to the fact that the political cause is more dominant in their findings. Another irony to their findings is that not all adherents of terrorism and terrorist activities are radical Salafis (Kundani, 2015).

Other demerits of radical attribution

There are other negative sides with attributing radicalism as the main threat to world peace order. The use of the term in three different context of integrity, security and foreign policy creates further confusion and chaos. Even radical Islam does not integration as many Islamic Principles and values teaches the importance of integration via peaceful means to establish security and foreign relations. This sends a negative message to Muslims across the world and also to the people who do not actually believe in the concept of radical Islam as perceived by western powers including U.K (Sedgwick, 2010).


The fault definitely lies in the wrong interpretation of Islamic values and principles by both terrorists who falls into the trap of political conspiracy and western power. There has to be more awareness regarding what Islamic values and principles through expression of free speech via peaceful debates and discussions. For this it is utterly important that people practicing so called radical Islam are not held responsible for terrorist activities. The views of ‘’THE INDEPENDENT’’ published on April 1, 2016 must be adorned and considered seriously to root out anti human elements like ISIS (Saifi, 2016).

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Kundani, A. (2015). A Decade Lost. A Decade Lost Rethinking Radicalisation and Extremism, 23.
Saifi. (2016, 04 01). The Independent. Retrieved from
Sedgwick, M. (2010). Terrorism and Political Violence. The concept of radicalization as a source of confusion, 479-494.

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