- The Prime Minister’s new Community Engagement Forum met for the first time to discuss the forthcoming counter-extremism strategy
- Police forces in England and Wales will record anti-Muslim hate crime as a specific category in the recorded crime statistics
- New funding to be made available to boost security at faith establishments
The Prime Minister today (13 October 2015) hosted the first meeting of the new Community Engagement Forum to discuss countering extremism. He announced that for the first time, police forces in England and Wales will be asked to record anti-Muslim hate crimes as a specific category in the recorded crime statistics, bringing them in line with reporting of anti-Semitic attacks.
In 2013 to 2014 police recorded crime statistics showed religious hate crimes increased by 45% and race hate crime by 4%. New statistics being published by the Home Office this morning are expected to show further rises. Creating a separate category will enable police, prosecutors, local authorities and the communities they serve to have a better understanding of the prevalence of anti-Muslim hate crime and allocate resources accordingly. It will provide the first accurate picture of the extent of anti-Muslim hate crime in England and Wales.
The Prime Minister also said that new funding will be made available for the security of all faith establishments, including mosques.
This issue was covered at today’s meeting in Downing Street, which the Prime Minister announced he would convene in his speech in Birmingham earlier this year. The Forum principally discussed the themes and objectives of the forthcoming counter-extremism strategy including mobilising a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremism in all its forms. It also considered what more government can do across the board to help support young British Muslims to reach their full potential.
Haras Rafiq, Director of the Quilliam Foundation, attended the Community Engagement Forum today (13 October 2015).
Watch Haras Rafiq talking about the first meeting of the forum
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
As I said last week, I want this government to be as bold in delivering social reform as we have been in economic - and a big social problem we need to tackle to rebuild Britain as an even greater country is extremism.
We all have a role to play in confronting extremism. That’s why I have invited important Muslim and non-Muslim figures to join the new Community Engagement Forum so I can hear directly about their work in our communities, the challenges they face and so that they can be part of our one nation strategy to defeat it.
I want to build a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremists and the poison they peddle. I want British Muslims to know we will back them to stand against those who spread hate and to counter the narrative which says Muslims do not feel British. And I want police to take more action against those who persecute others simply because of their religion.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
Hate crime has no place in Britain and I am determined to make further progress to ensure we can eradicate this deplorable act.
Working with police to provide a breakdown in religious-based hate crime data will help forces to build community trust, target their resources and enable the public to hold them to account.
Our counter-extremism strategy will be published later this month and will introduce a wide range of measures to defeat all forms of extremism. These will empower communities to confront extremist ideologies, and build more cohesive communities where everyone feels able to succeed.
The Forum will initially include around 30 multi-faith representatives from across the country and is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to hear directly from those taking a leading role challenging extremism in our communities. They will also be consulted on how best to improve the security of faith institutions and their recommendations will be considered as part of the wider work of the Prime Minister’s Extremism Taskforce.