Extremism

ISD combines research with an advanced digital analysis capability to track, measure and analyse extremism online.

Extremism is the advocacy of a system of belief that claims the superiority and dominance of one identity-based ‘in-group’ over all ‘out-groups.’ It propagates a dehumanising ‘othering’ mind-set that is antithetical to pluralism and the universal application of Human Rights.

Using our digital analytics tools and ethnographic research capabilities, our analysts monitor and assess the scale and threat of Islamist extremism, far-right extremism, left-wing extremism and ethno-nationalism online.

ISD combines digital analysis with policy advisory support and training to governments and cities around the world facing extremist threats. In the course of our work, we have sought to prevent violent extremism in the classroom; analysed the consequences of extremist ideologies that become mainstreamed; and assisted with the rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign fighters and their families.

We develop education resources to explicitly address extremism online, and collaborate with networks of community influencers, city and government officials and the tech sector. Together, we are better able to counter the radicalisation and recruitment strategies of state and non-state actors promulgating extremism and hate.

Our research team’s language capabilities allow us to monitor channels in English, French, Arabic, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Polish. We brief and advise an international range of policy makers, including government, security and intelligence agencies.

 

Latest Extremism Publications

See all ISD Publications

ISD’s Extremism Analysis team

Henry Tuck
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Henry Tuck

Head of Policy & Programmes

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Henry Tuck
Henry Tuck

Head of Policy & Programmes

Henry Tuck is Head of Policy & Programmes at ISD for work across Europe and the Five Eyes countries. He is responsible for the overall management of the Institute’s research programme, including oversight of all publications, research methods, and ethics across a variety of topics, from disinformation to the far-right and extremism online. Henry also leads ISD’s policy-focused work to counter online harms in collaboration with a range of key stakeholders, advising leading governments, international organisations and major private sector tech companies. He is the co-author of ISD reports An imprecise science: Assessing interventions for the prevention, disengagement and de-radicalisation of left and right-wing extremists, The Counter-Narrative Monitoring & Evaluation Handbook, Shooting in the right direction: Anti-ISIS Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq, and The Counter-narrative Handbook. Henry holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from Kings College London, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Durham University.
Jacob Davey
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Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

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Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

Jacob Davey is Head of Research & Policy of Far-right and Hate Movements. His research focuses on the role of digital communications in inter-communal conflict, internet culture, online hate speech and the international far-right. He has led a number of projects piloting novel models for identifying extremist conversation online as well as interventions to counter this phenomenon. He has advised national and local policymakers on right-wing extremism, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, and has lead trainings with frontline practitioners on the mobilisation strategies of extremist groups. He has provided commentary on extremism-related issues in a number of platforms including The Guardian, The Independent, and The BBC, and also sits as a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. He is the co-author of ISD reports Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media, The Interplay Between Australia’s Political Fringes on the Right and Left: Online Messaging on Facebook, The Genesis of a Conspiracy Theory, A Safe Space to Hate: White Supremacist Mobilisation on Telegram, An Online Environmental Scan of Right-wing Extremism in Canada, The Fringe Insurgency – Connectivity, Convergence and Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right, Counter-Conversations: A model for direct engagement with individuals showing signs of radicalisation online, “Mainstreaming Mussolini” – How the Extreme Right Attempted to ‘Make Italy Great Again’ in the 2018 Italian Election, ‘The Great Replacement’: The Violent Consequences of Mainstreamed Extremism, and An imprecise science: Assessing interventions for the prevention, disengagement and de-radicalisation of left and right-wing extremists.
Milo Comerford
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Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

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Milo Comerford
Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

Milo Comerford is Head of Policy & Research, Counter Extremism, leading ISD’s work developing innovative research approaches and policy responses to extremism. Milo regularly briefs senior decision makers around the world on the challenge posed by extremist ideologies, and advises governments and international agencies on building effective strategies for countering extremism. He was previously Senior Analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, where he led major research projects on Salafi-jihadi propaganda, international educational responses to extremism, and the transnational far right. His writing and research features frequently in international media and he has made recent broadcast appearances on BBC News, Sky News and Al Jazeera.
Rashad Ali
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Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

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Rashad Ali
Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

Rashad Ali is a Resident Senior Fellow at ISD. Rashad is a counter terrorism practitioner who works on deradicalisation initiatives alongside Prisons, Probation Services, Police and community groups. He was formerly a national leadership member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the revolutionary Islamist organisation and has been actively involved in undermining its extreme ideology and perversion of Muslim faith since his departure. As a researcher he has given testimony and contributed submissions to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Radicalisation, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Intelligence and has briefed the London Mayor's office on Counter Terrorism and has been consulted by think tanks and governments in Germany, Denmark, the EU and the US. He is an external lecturer for Derby University’s Master Class courses on Radicalisation and Counter Terrorism. He has written for The Observer, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, Dissent Magazine, Birlingske in Denmark, Conservative Home, and given commentary for Newsnight, BBC News. He is the author of Islam, Shariah and the Far Right published by Demoqratiya journal, A Guide to Refuting Jihadism published by HJS and EFD, and the author of the ISD report Blasphemy, Charlie Hebdo, and the Freedom of Belief and Expression. He is classically trained in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and Modern studies in Islam. He studied at al-Azhar University, Cairo, and the Markfield Institute.
Zahed Amanullah
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Zahed Amanullah

Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach

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Zahed Amanullah
Zahed Amanullah

Resident Senior Fellow, Networks & Outreach

Zahed Amanullah is a Resident Senior Fellow at ISD, leading on ISD’s civil society engagement, communications, and partnerships, coordinating the public and private sectors with activists, frontline workers, and relevant civil society networks. He has worked closely with Google.org to support British and European civil society organisations through the Innovation Fund, the Shared Endeavour Fund, and the Google Impact Challenge on Safety. He has given testimony to the UK and European parliaments and has been featured at the BBC, NPR, Channel 4, Sky News, the Guardian, CNN International, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Newsweek, among others. He has co-authored the ISD reports The Impact of Counternarratives, Between Two Extremes: Responding to Islamist and tribalist messaging online in Kenya during the 2017 elections, and The Innovation Fund to Counter Hate and Extremism in the UK. He holds a BS from the University of California, Berkeley and a Diploma in Management from the University of Bath.
Helena Schwertheim
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Helena Schwertheim

Senior Digital Policy and Research Manager, ISD Germany

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Helena Schwertheim
Helena Schwertheim

Senior Digital Policy and Research Manager, ISD Germany

Helena Schwertheim is Senior Digital Policy and Research Manager at ISD Germany, where she leads the Digital Policy Lab (DPL), a new intergovernmental working group focused on policy responses to prevent and counter disinformation, hate speech and extremism. Helena also leads a team of analysts studying digital threats posed to democracy by disinformation, hate speech and extremism.  Previously, Helena managed digital policy and research projects at Democracy Reporting International. She also has experience working in risk and political analysis in international organizations and think tanks, including at the UN World Food Programme in Rome, and the think tank International IDEA in Stockholm.
Aoife Gallagher
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Aoife Gallagher

Analyst

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Aoife Gallagher
Aoife Gallagher

Analyst

Aoife Gallagher is an Analyst on ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit, focusing on the intersection between far-right extremism, disinformation and conspiracy theories and using a mixture of data analysis, open source intelligence and investigative techniques to understand the online ecosystem where these ideas flourish and spread. Previously, Aoife was a journalist with the online news agency, Storyful. She is co-author of the ISD reports The Genesis of a Conspiracy Theory and Profit and Protest: How Facebook is struggling to enforce limits on ads spreading hate, lies and scams about the Black Lives Matter protests. Aoife has completed an MA in Journalism.
Charlotte Moeyens
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Charlotte Moeyens

Networks and Civic Action Manager

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Charlotte Moeyens
Charlotte Moeyens

Networks and Civic Action Manager

Charlotte Moeyens is a Networks and Civic Action Manager at ISD, sitting in the central Resources and Methods team to support with the collation and distribution of counter-extremism best practice, leading much of ISD’s practitioner and civil society capacity-building work, overseeing the development and international delivery of training modules, materials and resources. She has supported the delivery of the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety in Europe, Africa Online Safety Fund and Mayor of London’s Shared Endeavour Fund. Most recently, she is working with the McCain Institute to develop and build the capacity of a US Prevention and Intervention Practitioners Network. Charlotte also assists with ISD’s and the Strong Cities Network’s research efforts to better understand the scale and scope of extremist content online. She is co-author of the ISD reports YouthCAN: The Many States of Activism and Women, Girls and Islamist Extremism.
Ciaran O’Connor
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Ciaran O’Connor

Analyst

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Ciaran O’Connor
Ciaran O’Connor

Analyst

Ciaran O’Connor is an Analyst at ISD, working in the Research and Policy unit. Ciaran specialises in using open-source research to track and monitor disinformation and extremism online, with a particular focus on far-right activity and communication across open and closed networks and platforms. Ciaran is currently working on multiple ISD projects in analysing the intersection of misinformation and extremism with COVID-19 on social media. Ciaran previously worked as a journalist on the investigations team at Storyful, a social media news agency that specialises in the verification and analysis of amateur footage and misinformation online. He is the co-author of ISD reports The Boom Before the Ban: QAnon and Facebook and Disinformation briefing: Narratives around Black Lives Matter and voter fraud.
Jakob Guhl
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Jakob Guhl

Research Manager

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Jakob Guhl
Jakob Guhl

Research Manager

Jakob Guhl is a Manager at ISD, where he works within the Digital Research Unit and with ISD Germany. His research focuses on the far-right, Islamist extremism, hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy theories. He is a frequent commentator on German radio and broadcast, including Deutschlandfunk, Tagesthemen, NDR and Radio Eins. Jakob has been invited to present his research about online hate to the German Ministry of the Justice and provided evidence to the German Minister of the Interior and the German Family Minister on how to strengthen prevention against right-wing extremism and antisemitism. His research has been featured in Die Zeit, The Guardian, DW, The Telegraph, CNN, Euronews, Coda Story, Vice, Politico, New Republic and Die Welt, among others. Additionally, he has published articles in the “Journal for Deradicalisation”, “Demokratie gegen Menschenfeindlichkeit”, Taz, Der Standard, GNET and co-authored an essay for an edited volume of the Munich Residence Theatre about the origins of contemporary political anger. He is the co-author of ISD reports Crisis and Loss of Control: German-Language Digital Extremism in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media, A Safe Space to Hate: White Supremacist Mobilisation on Telegram and The Online Ecosystem of the German Far-Right. Jakob holds an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society from King’s College London.
Lea Gerster
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Lea Gerster

Analyst

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Lea Gerster
Lea Gerster

Analyst

Lea Gerster is an Analyst at ISD and ISD Germany. She works across a range of projects focused on the proliferation of extremist ideologies and disinformation in the English- and German-speaking part of the internet. Previously, Lea worked for two years in online extremism-related roles at TRD Policy and the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism. She also worked as an intern for the Swiss foreign office and as a volunteer at a Japanese tea farm. She is the co-author of the ISD report Crisis and Loss of Control: German-Language Digital Extremism in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. She holds an MA War Studies from King’s College London and a BA in history, Japan studies, and political sciences.
Mackenzie Hart
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Mackenzie Hart

Analyst

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Mackenzie Hart
Mackenzie Hart

Analyst

Mackenzie Hart is an Analyst at ISD, working across projects in the research and policy division. MacKenzie focuses on hate, disinformation, and the far-right and has also been involved with ISD’s election analysis units, mapping and analysing online information operations, as well as the activities of extremist groups. Previously, Mackenzie worked at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) and as a research assistant in the War Studies department at King's College London. From December 2015 to March 2016, Mackenzie lived in Sierra Leone, volunteering for a grassroots NGO supporting youth-led, community development projects and education. She is the co-author of the ISD reports Spin Cycle: Information Laundering on Facebook, The Genesis of a Conspiracy Theory, and An Online Environmental Scan of Right-wing Extremism in Canada. Mackenzie has a BA from Simon Fraser University with a double major in International Studies and History and an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society at King’s College London.
Nora Mathelemuse
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Nora Mathelemuse

Analyst

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Nora Mathelemuse
Nora Mathelemuse

Analyst

Nora Mathelemuse (they/them) is an Analyst for ISD's Digital Research Unit, helping to detect and analyse information operations and extremist activity online. They are aiding with the development of methodological tools for detection on disinformation and extremism. Nora is a Senior Social Justice Fellow of Humanity in Action, where they co-conceptualized an unConference on Sex-education. They have also worked within the healthcare sector as a psychological nursing assistant in psychiatric, psycho-somatic and somatic in-patient wards. Recently, Nora graduated from a Data Science course, some of their Projects encompassed Natural Language Processing, Web Scraping and trend prediction. Before entering the world of Data Science and Programming. They have a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Focusing their Research on the interaction between the impact of hate, discrimination and mental health.
Amarnath Amarasingam
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Amarnath Amarasingam

Senior Research Fellow

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Amarnath Amarasingam
Amarnath Amarasingam

Senior Research Fellow

Amarnath Amarasingam is a Senior Research Fellow at ISD. He currently serves as Assistant Professor in the School of Religion at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada and is an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, The Atlantic, and Foreign Affairs. He has conducted over 50 interviews with former fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) throughout the former war zones of Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013. At the Turkey-Syria border, Amarasingam spoke with dozens of injured fighters, refugees, as well as former and current activists of the Syrian revolution. He has also conducted field research in Somalia, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and amongst different ethnic and religious groups in North America and Europe. As co-director of a study of Western foreign fighters in Syria, he has conducted dozens of interviews with jihadists in Syria and Iraq, supporters of jihadist movements online, as well as family members and friends of individuals who have joined the fight abroad. He is the author of Pain, Pride, and Politics: Social Movement Activism and the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Canada (2015) and the editor of Sri Lanka: The Struggle for Peace in the Aftermath of War (2016), The Stewart/Colbert Effect: Essays on the Real Impacts of Fake News (2011) and Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal (2010). He is also co-author of the ISD reports No Platform for Old Men, Barriers to Online Youth Civic Engagement and P-CVE in Europe, An imprecise science: Assessing interventions for the prevention, disengagement and de-radicalisation of left and right-wing extremists, and “I Left to be Closer to Allah”: Learning about Foreign Fighters from Family and Friends.
Will Baldet
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Will Baldet

Fellow

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Will Baldet
Will Baldet

Fellow

Will Baldet MBE is a Fellow at ISD. He also serves as a Regional CVE Coordinator in the UK and a Senior Advisor to the UK Government’s ‘Prevent’ strategy. He has been a practitioner in Countering Violent Extremism since 2008, working in both policing and policy. In 2020 he received an MBE for his counter terrorism work as a Prevent Coordinator protecting communities in the UK. It was in this role that he has developed and managed projects to empower civil society responses to radicalisation with a particular focus on youth, women and education. Will has been a consultant for the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and is a member of the EU-funded Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Europe and has supported Governments with the development of their national CVE programmes, including the Netherlands, Malta and Kazakhstan. He appears regularly in the media, including BBC News, Channel 4 News, BBC Newsnight and Sky News and writes for several online media outlets. He is also a Policy & Practitioner Fellow at the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR).
Hadiya Masieh
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Hadiya Masieh

Fellow

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Hadiya Masieh
Hadiya Masieh

Fellow

Hadiya Masieh is an expert in the area of community cohesion, interfaith relations, counter extremism, and women’s involvement in extremism. She has been a counter extremism consultant for various Governments and NGOs in the US, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Denmark, and Spain. She has also worked with non-profit and commercial organisations including Google Jigsaw. She was appointed to the UK government’s “National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group” which advised senior government officials on theological development, community cohesion, and empowering women from ethnic minorities. Hadiya was one of the authors of the report “Radicalisation and violent extremism-focus on women: How women become radicalised and how to empower them to prevent Radicalisation”, which was produced the European Parliament committee on Women’s Rights and Gender equality. Hadiya was an ambassador for Women Without Borders promoting counter extremism narratives and facilitating discussions within conflict areas. She was appointed to the board of the internationally renowned and award winning peacekeeping organisation The Bereaved Families Forum based in Palestine and Israel, promoting their message of peace within conservative Jewish and Islamic Institutions in the UK. Hadiya was one of the first women to work on the UK channel programme where she has worked closely with scores of women affected by radical and extremist views. She has been interviewed by Radio 4, BBC World Service, BBC Asian Network, CNN, The Guardian, and Vogue Magazine. Hadiya has worked with ISD as a consultant since 2013 on the One to One programme.