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Terrorism and extremism research centre launches at UEL

PUBLISHED: 12:54 27 October 2016

TERC director Dr John Morrison at the centre's official launch. Picture: Daniel Blackman, UEL

TERC director Dr John Morrison at the centre's official launch. Picture: Daniel Blackman, UEL

Daniel Blackman, UEL

A research centre devoted to analysing and tackling terrorism and extremism has launched at the University of East London (UEL).

UEL post-graduate students Kiran Lehil and Coralie Barnes may be able to contribute towards TERC's research in the futureUEL post-graduate students Kiran Lehil and Coralie Barnes may be able to contribute towards TERC's research in the future

The Terrorism and Extremism Research Centre (TERC), based at UEL’s Stratford campus, has gathered a “range of experts” across fields in criminology, human rights law, psychology and sociology to employ a “inter-displinary approach” to studying terrorism.

Leading expert Professor Andrew Silke will join forces with fellow academics at the forefront of their fields to examine issues including terrorism groups, radicalisation, the psychology of terrorism and the global illegal drugs trade.

Speaking at last night’s official launch, centre director Dr John Morrison said: “It is about trying to give an insight outside of the main headlines of the violence.

“I want to investigate and research a variety of issues not just in UK relations but internationally as well.

“We want to look at the history and what the potential future threats may be.”

Researchers will “criticially examine” counter-terrorist policies, tactics and strategies in addition to “challenging” preconceived assumptions about why people become involved in terrorism.

Prof Silke, who has advised the Home Office and previously criticised David Cameron for focusing too much on ideology, said more “nuanced” research was required to tackle the “how” rather than the “why” behind individuals’ motivations.

“If we want to understand terrorism then we have got to speak with them [terrorists],” he said.

In addition to providing in-depth research and teaching, TERC will play host to future conferences and an online fellow scheme where expertise can be shared and live-streamed on its website.

It is also hoped that UEL students will have the opportunity to contribute towards its comprehensive body of research.

Masters students Coralie Barnes, 22, and Kiran Lehil, 23, who are both undertaking an MSc in Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies, said they were thrilled that the centre would be based at UEL.

Kiran, who counts Prof Silke as one of her lecturers, said: “It is because we have so many academics based here.

“It is good to be taught by people who really know what they are talking about.”

TERC counts at least 12 experts amongst its members. The centre was founded in October last year but was only launched this month once all board and research members had been approved.

For more information, visit uel.ac.uk/TERC

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