The HOMEAFFAIRS Briefing is a regular specialised digest of the wider discussion on internal security policy.

From 21 to 23 November 2018, we will organise the 4th year of HOMEAFFAIRS – Internal Security Forum Prague. The Forum is a specialised platform for policy makers, non-governmental experts and business representatives to discuss the most pressing internal security challenges.

This year’s participants will join closed and open sessions to discuss measures to prevent mass irregular migration and counter Islamic extremism. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Stop Using the Term “Islamophobia” When Describing Anti-Muslim Hatred

  • The term “Islamophobia” is deeply flawed, as it muddles the difference between the incitement to hatred of Muslims and the criticism of Islam. The former is illegitimate and often illegal, while the latter is both legitimate and legal.
  • Furthermore, “Islamophobia” is sometimes wrongly equated with anti-Semitism or racism. This is particularly problematic when criticism of Islam is included in the definition of “Islamophobia”, because any legitimate opposition or criticism of Islam is subsequently branded as a form of racism.
  • Far from helping the public understand extremism, the term “Islamophobia” aids Islamist organisations, which exploit its unclear meaning to silence any criticism of Islam. Criminalising “Islamophobia” would be disastrous for the freedom of speech, as it would shield the religion of Islam from open public discussion.
  • This is not to say that there are no real cases of Muslims being targeted by bigots for their faith. For such situations, using the expression “anti-Muslim hatred” is more accurate and preferable. For more details on this issue and why it matters, see our report.

Every two weeks, our team crafts internal security policy recommendations that incorporate handpicked publications from respected research organisations and experts in Europe and elsewhere. In this iteration, let us look at the ongoing necessity to negotiate deals with African states on migration and on the growing issue with online extremist content.

In Curbing Irregular Migration, Build a Negotiation Strategy for Each African State

  • It is no news that preventing mass migration necessitates cooperation with African states. There are various tools on hand for treaty negotiations, but not all tools work the same for different countries.
  • The German Institute for International and Security Affairs SWP published a paper analysing the different internal conditions and needs of potential African partners and how these affect EU external migration policies. For the best outcome, EU negotiation strategies have to adapt the carrot and stick approach to each partner state accordingly.
  • For example, legal migration channels are a stronger incentive for states which depend on remittances from the EU than for states with emigrants working primarily in the Gulf States. Such states may, however, be more open to negotiations about readmission agreements.
  • A willingness to cooperate depends not only on the desire for financial support but also for the lifting of sanctions or for international recognition. Understanding regional contexts and needs is essential in constructing viable negotiation strategies.

Press Tech Giants to Swiftly Remove Extremist Content

  • In its latest study of ISIS content on YouTube, the Counter Extremism Project found the world’s largest video content provider is substantially failing to remove extremist content from its platform.
  • During a three-month period, the authors registered 1,348 extremist videos uploaded via 278 separate accounts, garnering some 163,000 views.
  • Among the findings is that 91 % of the identified videos were uploaded more than once, casting doubt on YouTube’s stated efforts to prevent the upload or removal of known terrorist material.
  • Furthermore, 60 % of the monitored accounts remained active after violating YouTube’s terms of service with their blatantly extremist content.
  • The tech world is clearly incapable of addressing the issue by itself. Policymakers in Europe and North America must develop effective regulations to compel high-tech companies to promptly remove extremist content and block accounts uploading it.