Quilliam International welcomes the creation of The Commission for Countering Extremism and congratulates Sara Khan for taking on the role of Lead Commissioner on this taskforce.

Quilliam has long called for the establishment of a counter-extremism branch, separate from the Prevent strategy. In June 2013, a few days after the tragic murder of Lee Rigby, Quilliam released a policy paper in which it proposed the idea of a separation between counter-extremism and counter-terrorism strategy, noting that:

“In light of recent events therefore, it is imperative that the British Government urgently revisits and reclaims responsibility for developing a counter-extremism strategy to challenge the rising threat of extremisms in the UK. Quilliam believes that the urgency of the challenge ahead necessitates that any such strategy now devised should be directly coordinated by Downing Street itself, and led by an appointed expert on a non-partisan basis.”

According to the government, the commission will “identify and challenge all forms of extremism” and “promote fundamental, pluralistic British values” by supporting “the public sector, communities and civil society to confront extremism wherever it exists.” Quilliam welcomes this intent as we believe the fight against extremism must begin from the bottom-up and through a civil society approach. Community engagement, however, must not entail compromising core principles, and we must continue to tackle non-violent forms of extremism, while holding to account those who make excuses for it.

While the establishment of this commission is a significant step forward in the right direction, Quilliam will continue to lobby across government to facilitate further strategic and effective counter-extremism measures.

Quilliam wishes Sara Khan all the best in her new role and we hope that this new taskforce will result in significant and positive change.