Past event

Research Event

Understanding Counter-Jihad Extremism: The Case of the English Defence League

Chatham House, London

Europe Programme, Populist Extremism in Europe

Event documents

Briefing Paper: The Roots of Extremism: The English Defence League and the Counter-Jihad Challenge
pdf | 484.63 KB


Matthew Goodwin, Associate Fellow, Europe, Chatham House
Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future
Gavin Shuker MP


While right-wing extremism has been the subject of growing attention in Europe and North America, the emergence of 'counter-Jihad' groups has been relatively neglected.

Campaigning amidst fiscal austerity and public concerns over immigration, these groups are more confrontational, chaotic and unpredictable than established populist extremist political parties, yet not enough is known about who supports them – and why.

The panel will discuss a new Chatham House briefing paper which challenges many assumptions about the natural supporters of these groups by drawing on new data about the English Defence League. The speakers will also explore how these findings should affect government policy and civil society to reduce the appeal of counter-Jihad narratives. 


Project on Understanding and Dealing with the Spread of Populist Extremism in Europe.