Who: Counter-Extremism Strategy
What: Unveiled by the UK Government
When: 19 October 2015
Why: To fight growing radicalization
The Government of UK on 19 October 2015 unveiled Counter-Extremism Strategy to fight growing radicalization of its residents especially the youth.
The strategy is comprehensive as it covers all the forms of extremism-violent and non-violent; Islamist and Neo-Nazi and delineates various preventive measures to curb extremist tendencies.
The focus of the strategy is on four areas:
1. Countering extremist ideology
2. Building a partnership with all those opposed to extremism
3. Disrupting extremists
4. Building more cohesive communities.
Highlights of Counter-Extremism Strategy
• A full review of public institutions such as schools, further and higher education colleges, local authorities, the NHS and the civil service to ensure they are protected from entryism or infiltration by extremists
• An official investigation into the application of Sharia law in the UK
• Extremism disruption orders to stop individuals engaging in extremist behaviour
• Closure orders for law enforcement and local authorities to close down premises used to support extremism
• Tougher powers for broadcasting regulator Ofcom so action can be taken against radio and television channels showing extremist content
• Demands that internet service providers do more to remove extremist material and identify those responsible for it
• Anyone with a conviction or civil order for extremist activity will also be automatically barred from working with children and vulnerable people
• Parents of children aged up to 17 years can request the government to cancel passport of children if they feel they are making plans to join terror groups.
As per an estimate around 700 people from the UK have travelled to support or fight for jihadist organizations, like ISIS, in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. Among them, around 50 people have died as fighters in the conflict.
Against this backdrop, the strategy seems a right step to contain the menace of extremism in the country. However, the UK government should strike the balance ‘right’ while implementing the strategy as Muslim minorities, constituting around 4.5 percent of population, should not feel insecure as the result of its implementation.