The Government has announced £5 million of funding this year for charities and grassroots organisations to help build a national network to challenge all forms of extremist ideology.
The Prime Minister announced the funding yesterday ahead of today’s publication of the government’s new Counter-Extremism Strategy. He said of the strategy:
“At the core is building a national coalition of all those individuals and groups who are united in their determination to defeat extremism and build a more cohesive society. We will do everything we can to support them – through my new Community Engagement Forum and with practical support and funding to tackle these deep-rooted issues. The scale of the task is immense and that is why we need everyone to play their part.
“The new funding, initially for this financial year, will be dedicated to providing direct and in-kind practical support to groups to expand the reach and scale of their work to confront extremism, and develop credible alternative narratives to the dangerous views propagated by extremists”.
There was little detail about the funding and how to apply for it, but it would take the form of both direct and in-kind support. It could be used, for example, for:
• social media training
• technical assistance to enable a small charity to set up a website
• targeting funding for specific projects
The Muslim Council of Britain criticised the strategy, arguing that it was based on a “flawed analysis”.
The National Secular Society also advised the Government to be “cautious about plans to hand-out £5 million to “moderate Muslim groups” and to a newspaper run by “moderate imams”, warning that similar schemes in the past had seen funds get into the wrong hands”.
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