What happens when you try to solve a ‘problem’ and cannot define the very thing you are trying to solve? You end up at an impasse.

 ‘Extremism’: Is it the way one dresses? Our views towards other religions? When we tell our children how things in British culture are forbidden? Our beliefs on other people’s lifestyle choices? 

Few can argue that without a categorical definition any policies looking to tackle ‘extremism’ are fraught with problems.

On the one side we have the government not wanting to define Islamic ‘Extremism’ in case it leads to them losing credibility with nations we openly support.

The fact is the government for all its endeavours knows full well what they should class ‘extreme’ but are content enough some of these beliefs being taught by ill-equipped teachers in evening Islamic schools.

And on the other side we have Muslim groups and campaigners who do not want sections of their particular brand of Islam to be deemed to be ‘extremist’ in nature.

Muslim groups realise that this vague terminology on extremism actually suits them. So, unless we are told what is and what is not categorically deemed to be extreme we will happily take on the system all in the name of religion.

I am all for those who raise their voices against government policies against Muslim. But deep down we know this inconsistency is better for us.

There is also a growing number who would say we should not class any part of the Islamic faith as ‘extreme’. To do so undermines the very essence of the religion.

I have heard many state, 'Why do we need policies to tackle extremism? When it doesn't really exist. Why can't they just leave us alone to practice our faith in peace?'

British Muslim representation, as I have mentioned before on these very pages finds itself at a crossroads. 

We have those groups and individuals who want us believe our religion is the ‘problem’ and those who will do anything to deflect attention away from their faith.

With regards to the latter, it is quite clear some people cannot see any parts of our faith being criticised because they feel that to do so challenges their belief and religious structure.

We can’t carry on like this. Sooner or later one side or the other will have to give.

Earlier this month the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) announced the first study of its kind which explored the scale and impact of extremism across England and Wales.

Sara Khan, who was appointed as lead commissioner by the Government hailed it as a defining moment, "Whether it's far-right, Islamist or other forms of extremism, we need to investigate their changing tactics such as a new-found professionalism, the intellectualising of hate and abusing the power of social media."

The new study into extremism will investigate the scale of the problem, the changing tactics of extremists and the current response.

All very well but one thing won’t change. The commission for all its efforts still won’t be able to tell us what ‘extremism’ within the Muslim faith is. 

We may well agree on the definition of violent extremism but not extremism or the journey to ‘radicalisation’.

It won’t tell us how and what is defined as extremism because to do so would mean it having to point out inconsistencies within particular sects of Islam.

Presently, we have those groups and individuals on one side of the debate who are happy to use terms as ‘Islamist’ as an alternative to pointing out what they actually feel to be extreme. It has become far too easy to paint others as 'extreme' without actually pointing out that what that is.

Most alternative voices and Muslim groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) are also unlikely to come up with anything different either. 

The reason again is quite simple. To do so would mean having to challenge beliefs within different Islamic sects. Something no Muslim group is willing to do or more even risk.

To class some things as ‘extremist’ content and others not means you are willing to side with one sect over another. And Britain is now home to a wide range of Muslims from different sects which is fast leading to new challenges.

Muslim groups I would say are content and happy with the present state of affairs and how things have panned out.

It suits them to be on the outside looking in as that feeds into this narrative that the powers that be are against Islam and Muslims.

We may all be content to point out what we feel is ‘extreme’ but to put this in the legal framework leads to all sorts of further problems.

The fact is Islamic ‘extremism’ in modern day Britain is all a matter of opinion. And that is the greatest challenge there is.