Festival 2018

At a glance

Making Sense of Terror

4 January 2018 - 10:14pm -- miranda
Upcoming EventsSunday, March 4

Making Sense of Terror

Kings Place, Hall 2

2018-03-04 15:30:00



Gabrielle Rifkind
Rowan Somerville
Chair: Hugo Rifkind

Gabrielle Rifkind offers a unique insight into the psychology of political extremism. When we talk about IS and similar groups, we approach them as political organisations. What, however, would Sigmund Freud have made of these deadly entities? We need to ask the question: Do the inner disquiets of Islam make more sense to psychologists than to Imams? In her new book,The Psychology of Political Extremism: what Sigmund Freud would have thought about Islamic State, Rifkind argues that  Islamic State is primarily seen through a political lens; the psychological motivation of such groups is poorly understood.

Seventeen years ago a suicide bomber murdered 22 people in Tel Aviv. In his meticulously researched work of non-fiction, Beat, Rowan Somerville tells the story of how the heart of a Palestinian pharmacist, killed in an act of retribution in the midst of the Second Intifada, came to save the life of a dying Israeli. 


Sponsored by the UK Friends of The Abraham Fund Initiatives.

Gabrielle Rifkind is a practising psychotherapist,  group analyst and a specialist in the resolution of conflict. She has spent the past two decades working in conflict resolution in the Middle East. She recently founded and directs the Oxford Process (www.oxfordprocess.com), a conflict mediation initiative which works quietly behind the scenes to prevent countries tipping into conflict. She is the conflict mediator on the Radio 4 show Across the Red Line, which deals with radically different view points. We need to ask the question, do the inner disquiets of Islam make more sense to the psychologists than to the imams? 


Rowan Somerville is former Head of Programing for MTV Europe and Head of Development for BBC Entertainment. His novel The End of Sleep was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the New Writers Award in Ireland. 

Hugo Rifkind is an award-winning Edinburgh-born journalist who writes columns for The TimesSpectator and GQ. He writes the satirical column My Week on Saturdays and is a frequent panellist on BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz.