Press Release

13 October 2015

Quilliam welcomes Downing Street’s announcements today on tackling all forms of extremism.

The move to record anti-Muslim hate crime as a separate category is to be commended as it will increase the confidence of Muslim communities in the police, and specifically in reporting extremism. It will also present the government a better picture of this form of discrimination and thus allow for improved prevention and response strategies to turn the tide against the growing incidence of all hate crime.

Quilliam supported the Prime Minister’s framing of poverty, discrimination and extremism as social ills and the priority for social reform in this parliament to reduce their prevalence, as detailed in his speech last week. The moves today to target anti-Muslim hate crimes and the first meeting of the new Community Engagement Forum are two excellent practical steps to turn this rhetoric into action.

As Quilliam has previously advocated, a liberal lens for the new counter-extremism strategy is critical to its success, and this evidence-based approach and localised structure for delivery are the right ways to ensure its effectiveness.

We urge further action to continue this progressive approach:

• Improve training in schools so that teachers are more confident in fulfilling their new Prevent Duty. This will reduce “false positive” referrals to Channel which can be counter-productive in countering extremism as they waste time and can make people feel targeted;

• Commit to primary prevention to intervene earlier to prevent all forms of extremism. To tackle the twin pillars of anti-Muslim hate and Islamist extremism, educate young people about the differences between Islam and Islamist extremism, show the plurality of opinion within Islam, and demonstrate Islam’s compatibility with human rights;

• Focus on extremist narratives by fully understanding the key pull factors of extremist organisations, and countering their messaging by targeting its different elements;

• Develop “alternative narratives”, in addition to counter-narratives, that promote human rights, Britain’s values, and integration without conceding ground to extremist organisations;

• Engage students to counter extremism on university campuses with positive campaigns, ensuring extremists don’t speak on unchallenged platforms by providing alternative points of view to extremist narratives, and use their creativity and digital literacy to produce online counter-narrative content to rival the social media use of extremist groups; and

• Empower non-typical partners in Muslim communities and give mothers, other women, young people and minorities within Muslim communities such as religious minorities and sexual minorities, a voice to ensure they have the confidence to counter all forms of extremism, violent and non-violent, Islamist and far-right

Quilliam Political Liaison Officer Jonathan Russell says,

Like discrimination and poverty, extremism of all kinds affects community cohesion, integration and the well-being of British society. We must foster a stronger shared identity, build resilience among our communities and reduce the vulnerability of our young people who are so often exploited by those who are intolerant of difference.

Quilliam is available for comment by calling 02071827284 or by emailing [email protected].