Skip to main content

Islamist Extremism

Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 12 December 2006

20. What assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of Government initiatives to tackle Islamist extremism. (108122)

The Department plays a critical role, working effectively with local government and communities to tackle Islamist extremism. We continue to monitor our work at both local and national level, and to build on what we have learned from previous initiatives, such as the “Preventing Extremism Together” project, to inform our policy development.

Last month, the Secretary of State told the House that action had been agreed on all but three of the 27 recommendations of the “Preventing Extremism Together” taskforce that were addressed to Government. As action agreed is not the same as action taken, can the Minister tell the House howmany of the recommendations have so far been implemented?

Yes I can, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for asking the question—it gives me an opportunity to put the record straight, because some misinformation has been perpetuated on this point by mischief makers. Action has been agreed on all but three of the 27 recommendations that were for Government to lead on. Three have been completed—the recommendation about consultation on the Department for Education and Skills Green Paper, expansion of the minority ethnic achievements project, and the extension of equal opportunities legislation to cover discrimination on the ground of faith—and 17 are in progress. The Government have accepted the recommendations and are working on implementing them. Three are under consideration and the Government are deciding whether to accept them. Of the four remaining, alternatives are in place for two, and two are not being taken forward.

A number of weeks ago, the Muslim Parents Association of Milton Keynes organised a highly successful meeting that was attended by about 200 members of the local Muslim community and people from other faith communities, at which two Imams launched a theological discussion about Islam and how it precisely did not explain the actions of certain extremists within the Muslim community. Will the Minister say what support his Department is giving to moderate Muslim organisations such as the Milton Keynes Muslim Parents Association?

My hon. Friend makes a very important point. It gives me the opportunity to re-emphasise on behalf of the Government what is of course the case: those who use the name of Islam to justify violence and criminal terrorism are to be condemned. The Government’s programme with the mainstream Muslim community, Imams and various organisations to make that point clear includes events to perpetuate the true nature of Islam and to put to bed the arguments of those who use it to justify their violent extremism, and more than 30,000 young British Muslims have attended those events.