Former extremists at Young CST dinner

7 Dec 2011 by CST

A former neo-Nazi and an ex-Islamist shared their experiences of extremism and antisemitism with an audience of 230 guests at the Young CST dinner in Central London last night.

Matthew Collins, a former National Front, British National Party and Combat 18 member who now works for Hope Not Hate, and Shiraz Maher, formerly of Hizb ut-Tahrir and now with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation & Political Violence,were interviewed by Sky News's Adam Boulton. In a wide-ranging discussion, they explained what first attracted them to extremist politics, some of the activities they were involved with and the reasons why they moved away from extremism.

Both speakers discussed the role that antisemitism plays in extremist movements. Matthew Collins told how in the far right every problem is blamed on "the Jews", while they would desecrate Jewish cemeteries and claim that Muslims were responsible. He warned that "there is no standard or staple antisemitism; it will creep into the mainstream whenever and wherever it can." Shiraz Maher explained how "Hizb ut-Tahrir has had a sharp antisemitic focus from the get-go." In contrast, when he left Hizb ut-Tahrir one of the first people he spoke to was someone from CST.

Matthew Collins ended the evening by urging the audience to support CST: "It is there for you, 24 hours a day. Support CST and don't take it for granted."

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Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth