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4 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I September 2009
Scheme to tackle extremism
should be scrapped - report
The Government’s flagship scheme attack in Britain to try to
on tackling extremism is alienating stoke racial tensions and
Muslim communities and should be that more resources need
scrapped, according to a new report to be targeted to tackle
published last month. this form of extremism.
The New Local Government It also calls for reform
Network (NLGN) think tank is calling of the Joint Intelligence
for the £45 million scheme to focus Committee (JIC) to allow
on tackling all extremism – including an expert on ‘home-
far-right extremists – rather than just grown’ terrorism to sit on
focusing on Islamic extremism. the Committee.
The Government set up the It suggests that the
Prevent scheme in 2006 to help local Communities and Local
community cohesion objectives and
councils to tackle violent extremism at Government department should
lacks sufficient integration with police
a local level. have a permanent seat on the JIC
and security services at local and
Currently 94 local authorities alongside the seven other government
national level. Concern has also been
receive funding from the scheme. departments on the Committee and
acknowledged over the agenda’s
NLGN’s independent report argues that experienced local authority Chief
impact on relations with Muslim
that whilst the scheme has helped in Executives should be consulted when
communities and whether it unfairly
some areas, overall it risks alienating assessing potential security risks.
stigmatises an entire community.
some local communities and Author of the report, Anna Turley
While it is too early to assess
particularly Muslim communities. argues that reform of Prevent is
the success of the Prevent agenda
The report calls for the Government vital to rebuilding confidence within
in terms of outcomes, the lack of
to allocate resources to tackle all local communities: “While Islamist
support from within the Muslim
extremist ideologies, arguing that the extremism remains a very serious
community, as well as the changing
recent increase in far-right extremism threat to our security, this kind of
threat of wider extremist voices mean
is as much of as a challenge for local extremism is not the only threat
that it is time to review whether the
councils as Islamic extremism. to the stability and security of our
separation of the Preventing Violent
In July this year Scotland Yard communities.
Extremism approach from wider
warned that far-right extremists are “Prevent is too proscriptive from
community cohesion approaches is
planning a “spectacular” terrorist the centre, undermines broader
still relevant.”
Project launched to support veil-wearers
supported Asian women and children She described how her 12-year-old
suffering domestic violence and daughter, who also wears the veil, had
abuse, the scheme is set to run for been verbally abused in Walthamstow
three years. market because of the way she was
Fiaz Akhtar, who works for Kiran dressed.
as a project co-ordinator and wears a Mrs Akhtar added that a number
head scarf, said: “After 7/7, I was in my of young women had come forward to
car with my daughter and a guy came say they had suffered similar problems
up behind me. He came out of his car and the project grew from there, as a
and started swearing and saying ‘get way to rebuild their self-confidence.
A project aimed at helping young
back to your country’. It came to the Project director Zahir Fatima said:
Muslim girls who have suffered abuse
point where I was petrified.” “After 9/11 and 7/7 we’ve been pushed
and hostility because of wearing the
Mrs Akhtar also had a lit cigarette underground. People are afraid
veil has been launched.
thrown at her and said many women to air their concerns. Discussions
The Young Muslim Women
have been spat at, verbally abused need to be held in an open and safe
Professionals Project was given a
in the street and even had their veils environment.”
grant of nearly £500,000 from the
pulled off in the years following 9/11 Aimed at girls and young women
Big Lottery fund and was set up after
and 7/7. aged 10 to 25, the scheme will include
women came forward to describe the
She said: “My clothes almost mentoring projects, “skills for life”
abuse they suffered.
caught fire - luckily I was sitting such as ICT and counselling training
Set up by the Leyton-based
forward. I cried a lot - it’s something and advice on how to deal with abuse
Kiran Project, which has traditionally
that could have been harmful to me.” safely. Asian Image
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