Monday, 20 July 2015

Using communities to tackle extremism

David Cameron's five year plan to tackle extremism must focus on curtailing demonisation and promoting engagement with communities.

In a recent letter to Home Secretary Theresa May, I warned that the group and individual banning orders to be introduced in forthcoming legislation could be counter-productive and hinder rather than help the fight against extremism. I argued that the key weapon in the fight against radicalisation will be to harness the often unsung civic spirit represented by the work of the 1,200 plus Islamic charities in the country.

The Prime Minister has hit the nail on the head today in identifying “the overshadowing of moderate Muslim voices" and “failures of integration” as central elements of the radicalisation that has so far taken place.

Speaking on the Today programme this morning former MI5 chief Eliza Manningham-Buller said that talk of one central Muslim identity and community is misguided, rather that there are hundreds and thousands of separate communities all of which must be reached. This is why it is so important that the Government, indeed all of us, embrace and celebrate the work done by Islamic charities across the country. This would go a long way to bringing the moderate Muslim voices out of the shadows.

I met only recently with Home Office Minister Lord Ahmed to develop these dialogues and agreed to draft some proposals for adoption by the Government.

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