Quilliam is supportive of the government’s new strategy to counter extremism. We welcome the comprehensive approach that has a consistent strategy across government departments, tackle extremism of all kinds, and pursue a civil society approach to work with all sectors and all communities.

In particular, Quilliam agrees that a values-based approach will be vital in building resilience among communities and preventing young people from being drawn into extremist organisations. Theresa May is correct to note that when extremists try to divide us, it is our values that can unite us.

Quilliam welcomes the balance in the new strategy that allows more emphasis to be put on the role of civil society in tackling extremism rather than the state strengthening counter-terrorism legislation.

The strategy to tackle the entire extremist spectrum is valuable as it identifies that all forms of extremism pose a challenge to British society, and focuses on the need to target our response in a responsible way, proportionate to the tactics used by different extremist groups.

Quilliam is pleased that the government has sought to understand the difference between Islam and Islamism, and has established the Extremism Analysis Unit to identify the challenges that non-violent extremism pose to our values and our society. As Quilliam has long argued, it is of vital importance to determine the best partners for future counter-extremism work, and to take active steps to prevent Islamist entryism in all British institutions.

We urge that this strategy will lead to policies in the next government that:

    Builds resilience in institutions that may be vulnerable to Islamist entryism, including schools and universities

    Forms public-private-3rd sector partnerships to develop and disseminate positive counter-narratives on the internet to help prevent online radicalisation

    Trains frontline workers such as teachers to carry out values-based primary prevention to promote pluralism and tolerance, and to raise their awareness about extremism and radicalisation as well as what they can do to protect all children

    Improves our prison system to prevent it being a net-exporter of extremism and terrorism, by focusing on deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of those arrested for terrorism-related offences

    Reaffirms our nation’s commitment to human rights in all counter-terrorism legislation, ensuring that we do not inadvertently feed narratives that are used in extremist radicalisation and recruitment

Quilliam’s political liaison officer Jonathan Russell says:

“This strategy to tackle extremism of all kinds is long overdue but welcome. I hope that this commitment to taking a values-based approach to extremism of all kinds will be followed up with progressive policies to counter extremist ideologies, the narratives put forward by extremist organisations, and the strategies they use to undermine our society. This policy area requires clarity, consistency and cohesion from all state bodies and must receive support from civil society if it is to effectively tackle this social ill.”