Leaders must commit to challenging hateful extremism warns Government’s extremism advisor

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Sara Khan has written to Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson.

The letter, which follow the recent release of the Commission for Countering Extremism’s report Challenging Hateful Extremism, argues:

Our country’s response to hateful extremism is weak, insufficient and often ineffective. In the interests of our country, we need to do better.

In October, Sara Khan published landmark findings and recommendations following 18 months of extensive engagement and evidence gathering.

The report lifted the lid on the deep harm to individuals, communities and society caused by those who incite or amplify hatred, engage in persistent hatred or who make the moral case for violence.

Sara Khan describes this as hateful extremism, and argues that we need to be quicker to identify hateful extremism, get better at protecting victims and do more to challenge hateful extremists themselves.

Polling conducted by the Commission last year shows that 73% of people want to see more done to challenge extremism.

The letter (published on Tuesday 5 November) explains that the “current Counter Extremism Strategy expires in April 2020”. It calls on the main parties to prepare plans for tackling hateful extremism in order “to protect our democratic values and the rights of everyone in this country”.

In the letter Sara Khan sets out the threat of hateful extremism:

Hateful extremism is undermining the social fabric of our country and is having a devastating impact on the lives of individuals, communities and the country as a whole. Having gathered extensive research from across the country over the last 18 months, my report “Challenging Hateful Extremism” makes clear inaction is quite simply not an option. My independent Commission has put forward recommendations for how to do more to tackle it that your party should adopt in Government.

The letter puts forward recommendations for a whole society response to hateful extremism:

  • A clear vision and definition for a whole-society effort to counter hateful extremism that is proportionate, rights-based and victim-centred;
  • A review of existing legal powers to ensure they are being used effectively; and
  • A Home Secretary-led taskforce to prioritise and coordinate efforts across society against the most pressing incidents and issues.

Sara Khan will on Tuesday 5 November will make the case for urgent action on hateful extremism in a speech at the Bridging Northern Communities conference organised by Leeds Council.

Speaking to an audience of those working hard on the ground to challenge extremism, she will argue that hateful extremists seek to exploit local tensions to spread hatred, will praise the tireless work of those challenging extremism on the ground and set out her vision for a new approach to challenging hateful extremism.

A copy of the letter can be found below.

/Public Release. View in full here.