The increased salience of extreme nationalist beliefs, sometimes rooted in the religious identity of the majority group, is finding violent expression in its hostility to minorities and immigrants. Ultra-right opinion makers across the globe are making vigorous appeals to religious nationalism, populism and authoritarianism. Spurred by populist rhetoric against minority Muslims and ethnic groups, Asia is no exception to this trend, as vividly illustrated by the current epidemic of Buddhist extremism in Myanmar and Sri Lanka and Hindu extremism in India. This webinar specifically examines the phenomenon of Buddhist extremism in Myanmar, Hindu extremism in India and the resurgence of White Supremacist extremism in the West. It will be argued that these forms of extremism could be basically seen as belief systems that legitimize structural violence against the “other.” The panel will argue that irrespective of the type of identity-based extremism, extremist violence against minorities can be intertwined with supposedly “non-violent” extremist rhetoric and activity, and policymakers should not ignore this reality.
Kumar Ramakrishna is Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Policy Studies, Research Adviser to National Security Studies Programme and Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He has published in numerous internationally refereed journals and co-edited two well-received books on counter-terrorism, The New Terrorism: Anatomy, Trends and Counter-Strategies (2002) as well as After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia (2004). He is also the author of numerous single-authored books including Original Sin? Revising the Revisionist Critique of the 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore (2015) and Singapore Chronicles: Emergency (2016).
Shyam Tekwani A native of India, Shyam Tekwani is professor at the DKI Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies where he specializes in political violence; security dynamics of South Asia; terrorism and counterterrorism; and the role of media in security. Professor Tekwani’s extensive background in the media as a journalist reporting conflict and insurgency in the Indo-Asia Pacific includes his exclusive reportage of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka which he covered exhaustively since its inception in the early 80s. His move to academics converged with the parallel shift of insurgencies and propaganda to the Internet in the early 90s and his early academic work focused on the use of new media technologies by terrorists and insurgent groups. Professor Tekwani has taught courses and lectured widely across countries at universities and institutions, including a decade at the WKI-School of Communication Studies in the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Dr Sam Mullins is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Hawaii, where he contributes to the professional education of security practitioners from around the globe. He has been researching and teaching terrorism, counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism for more than a decade, and has presented his work for the FBI, the New York City Police Department, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Australian Federal Police, NATO, and the Indonesian National Armed Forces, among others. He is also an honorary fellow at the University of Wollongong, Australia. His most recent book is Jihadist Infiltration of Migrant Flows to Europe.
Dr. Irm Haleem is an Assistant Professor in the Strategic Studies Program at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University. She is also the Coordinator of the MSc (IR) program at RSIS, School Academic Integrity Officer at RSIS, and Manager (Research and Publications) at International Center of Political Violence and Terrorism Studies (ICPVTR) at RSIS. She is the author of the book, The Essence of Islamist Extremism: Recognition through violence, freedom through death (Routledge 2012, paperback 2014), and editor and contributing author of Normalization of Violence: Conceptual analysis and reflections from Asia (Routledge 2020). She is currently finishing another book manuscript, Contradictions of Freedom, which is under contract with Routledge and expected to be published in 2021, and for which she was offered a research grant from the United States Air Force (USAF), Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development (AOARD) during 2015-2016. Dr. Haleem has also been an invited TEDx speaker at TEDxNTU in October 2017, ‘Here’s to the Game Changers’, where she spoke on ‘Love, Hope, and Human Agency’.