Khan calls for overhaul of extremism strategy
Sara Khan has carried out the first-ever national conversation on extremism and reviewed the government’s current approach, resulting in her calling for a complete overhaul of the government’s strategy.
The commission for Countering Extremism, headed by Khan, has published its findings and recommendations in a new report, Challenging Hateful Extremism, which identifies a new category of extremist behaviour outside of terrorism and violent extremism, which it calls hateful extremism.
Khan argues that, unlike our response to terrorism, the current response to hateful extremism is inadequate and unfocused, leaving victims unrecognised and those countering it unsupported. Therefore, the report calls for a new focus on hateful extremism and a robust, victim-centred and rights-based approach to ensure we respond proportionately to the threat.
As part of this, the commission recommends a rebooted government strategy and a new taskforce led by the Home Secretary. This is because victims need to be better protected, counter extremists better supported and hateful extremists better challenged.
The commission for Countering Extremism has also revealed some new findings from academic research, showing that 76 per cent of people saying that more needs to be done to challenge extremism and almost 50 per cent of consultation respondents having witnessed some form of extremism – many in their own area. The report also shows how hateful extremists are exploiting local tensions in our towns and cities to propagate their hate and recruit others.
Khan said: “We are a wonderfully diverse and inclusive society. We must not allow extremists to normalise their hatred. I am putting forward a clear description of hateful extremism – the inciting or amplifying of hate, the hateful targeting of individuals and making the moral case for violence.
“Our country’s response to terrorism is robust. This is not the case for hateful extremism. Yet if we are to be successful in reducing the extremist threat in our society, we need to focus our efforts on challenging hateful extremism. We are not doing enough to protect victims. We underestimate the impact of those that make the moral case for violence. We can, and must, do more to address the spread of hateful extremism on our streets and online.
“The government must urgently overhaul its approach to challenging extremism, starting with a new definition of hateful extremism, a new government strategy and a Home Secretary-led taskforce. But this is not just a job for government. The challenge of hateful extremism requires a whole society response built on greater leadership, deeper understanding and innovative interventions. We must get behind those who are bravely challenging individuals and groups who are engaged in hateful extremism in society. I am proposing a strengthened commission to drive the changes we need.”