The Government brought forward measures in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001) and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 to provide protection to people who are victimised because of their religious beliefs.
In addition, the Government are continuing the process of engagement with Muslim communities and are working with them on issues such as security, protecting the communities from radicalisation, and combating Islamophobia. One of the recommendations from the “Preventing Extremism Together” working groups’ report was the creation of local forums. These forums will allow for a diverse range of members of the British Muslim community, local law enforcement agencies and public service agencies to come together to discuss issues relating to tackling Islamophobia and extremism. They will also provide a safe space for discussion and sharing views, and allow for the channelling of ideas and new thinking in dealing with extremism. Three of these have now taken place.
The new Commission on Integration and Cohesion, which was announced on 28 June 2006, will examine how different communities can live together, respecting differences but with a shared sense of belonging and purpose. It will also examine the issues that raise tensions between different groups in different areas and which lead to segregation and conflict. Lastly, the Government are supporting a number of projects addressing Islamophobia and providing opportunities for Muslims to share their concerns.