Home Secretary Teresa May has announced new measures to be taken by the Extremism Analysis Unit to combat extremism.
In a speech at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London she said the Unit would “help us to develop a new engagement policy – which will set out clearly for the first time with which individuals and organisations the government and public sector should engage and should not engage.
“This will make sure nobody unwittingly lends legitimacy or credibility to extremists or extremist organisations, and it will make very clear that government should engage with people directly and through their elected representatives – not just through often self-appointed and unrepresentative community leaders”.
Addressing concerns that non-representative and unelected individuals had achieved credibility through hijacking community groups (concerns also raised at the recent All Faiths Network forum), she said “The Extremism Analysis Unit will also inform the development of a counter-entryism strategy. We know from examples such as the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham that extremists use entryist tactics to infiltrate legitimate organisations to promote their own agendas.
“The counter-entryism strategy will ensure that government, the public sector and civil society as a whole is more resilient against this danger”.
Mrs. May detailed specific actions to be taken, including action in schools and other institutions. “We will review and reform the governance and inspection arrangements for further education colleges. We will make sure that major state employers such as the NHS have robust procedures in place to identify extremism and deal with it.
“We will publish a clear framework which will set out the circumstances in which central government should intervene when councils fail to respond to extremism or have been infiltrated by extremists. We will commission Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to conduct an all-force inspection of the police response to ‘honour’ crimes, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.
“We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crimes. And we will create new extremism officer positions in prisons to deal with extremist prisoners and prison gangs”.
The speech pointed to respect of different religions and faiths: “Some say we are picking on religion or religious beliefs, but to them I say – as a practising Anglican myself – we are doing no such thing.
“Islamist extremists may say they are acting in the name of Islam, but there is no legitimate basis for extremism in Islam or in any major religion. The Qur’an says “do not go to extremes in your religion” and “let there be no compulsion in religion.” Leviticus tells Jews and Christians to “love your neighbour as yourself.” Sikhs believe that “no one is my enemy, no one is a foreigner, with all I am at peace”, while the Hindu Shanti Mantra seeks peace for all, saying, “may all beings experience prosperity. May none in the world suffer.”
Read the full text of the Home Secretary’s speech here