The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence

The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence
Founded January 2008
Type Non-profit
think tank

The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR or I.C.S.R.) is a non-profit, non-governmental think tank based in London whose mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of political violence and radicalisation.

The Director of ICSR is Dr. Peter R. Neumann; the Deputy Director is Dr. John Bew.

The organisation is a partnership of four academic institutions: King's College London; the University of Pennsylvania;[1] the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (Israel); and the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy.

It defines its mission as "challenging the growth of radicalisation and political violence by bringing together the world's most innovative thinkers from academia, politics and business".


ICSR was launched in January 2008 at the First International Conference on Radicalisation and Political Violence in London.

Avi Dichter, the former head of the Israeli Shin Bet internal security agency, had planned to attend the conference, but cancelled his visit for fear of being arrested on war crimes charges related to an Israeli attack in 2002 on a house in Gaza killing 13 civilians including children.[2]

During this conference UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith launched the government's new anti-terror initiative.[3]


ICSR conducts independent research and describes its mission as follows.

... to educate the public in relation to diplomacy and strategy, public administration and policy, security and counter-terrorism and international conflict resolution.


In 2009, ICSR published a major report on online radicalisation in the UK which was carried out in partnership with the Community Security Trust. "The Challenge of Online Radicalisation" details how political extremists and terrorists are increasingly using the Internet as an instrument for radicalisation and recruitment. The paper received important media coverage.[4][5]

In August 2009, as a result of ICSR's first Atkin Conference on Middle East Peace held in July 2009, the center published a booklet of 15 ideas on 'how to fix the Middle East'.

In January 2010, ICSR published a paper by Omar Ashour. Votes and Violence: Islamists and the Processes of Transformation reviews and analyses the three processes of change within Islamist movements: the path of radicalisation, the path of moderation, or the path of de-radicalisation. In addition to undertaking its research, ICSR hosts high-profile speakers from around the world such as: US Senator Chuck Hagel, Vice-President of Colombia Francisco Santos Calderon, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Terry Davis as well as several prominent terrorism experts and commentators featured as panelists including BBC's Frank Gardner, Olivier Roy, Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation, Richard Dearlove (former head of MI6) and Daniel Benjamin of the Brookings Institution.

In June 2009, the ICSR launched its own blog on radicalisation FREErad!cals. Its self-stated mission is to be a forum for debate and ideas on radicalisation and political violence. The contributors are scholars (Dr. Omar Ashour, Dr. Ahron Bregman) and experienced bloggers (Tim Stevens, Raff Pantucci).


Netherlands' newspaper NRC Handelsblad on 19 November 2014 interviewed Shiraz Maher, 'coordinator of the research' of the Centre, about his insights on European jihadists joining Islamic State (ISIL) in Syria, their motives, etcetera. Maher advocates to give those jihadists who after several months decide to return home to Europe, a fair chance: "Of course, some of those people are truly evil--those you must arrest the second they step out of the plane." But "not everyone going to Syria is a terrorist". "You must give those who want to step out of it, a chance to do so, otherwise they'll remain jihadist the rest of their lives".[6]


Blogger David Cronin, writing in August 2013 on Electronic Intifada, an online publication that is "aimed at combating the pro-Israeli, pro-American spin" in mainstream media[7] accused the organization's director, John Bew, of refusing to reveal ICSR's funding when he questioned him about it.[8]

The organisation has been accused of inaccuracy in its April 2014 report '#Greenbirds: Measuring Importance and Influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks'. The report claimed that one of the subjects studied in the report was based in the West, whereas he denied this via his Twitter page[9] and clarified that he had not been based in the West at all since the study was said to have begun.


The organization's governance structure includes a board of trustees. Current members of the board include:


  1. University of Pennsylvania, ISTAR Preparedness Projects
  2. Rory McCarthy, 'Israeli minister cancels UK trip in fear of arrest', The Guardian, 7 December 2007
  3. Speech by the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, at the First International Conference on Radicalisation and Political Violence, January 2008
  4. John Ozimek We can and must control extremism on the web
  5. Larry Magid Internet not to blame for terrorism
  6. NRC Handelsblad, 19 November 2014.
  7. The Electronic Intifada
  8. David Cronin (19 September 2013). "London 'terrorism experts' have strong links to Israeli establishment". / Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  9. twitter Archived April 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
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