Victims of extremism urged to speak out to help UK tackle hatred

People can take part in government review during the next eight weeks

Dame Sara Khan urged victims of extremism to share their experiences. PA

The UK government is urging people to share their experiences of extremism as part of a review into its affect on society.

Dame Sara Khan, the government’s independent adviser for social cohesion and resilience, called for the public to speak out as part of a major independent review into social cohesion and resilience to extremism.

The former counter-extremism commissioner said she had seen “first-hand” the impact of radicalism adding that “too often, the response to those sowing hatred and division is slow and ineffective”.

“That is why I have been asked by the prime minister to examine what more is required to protect social cohesion and build resilience against extremism at a local level,” said Dame Sara.

“I will be seeking to hear from victims of extremism whose life-changing experiences are often unrecognised and from local authorities and communities who play an invaluable role,” said Dame Sara.

Responses from victims, local authorities and members of the public will help examine the impact, harm, and response to extremism at a local level and shape recommendations on how the UK government can better support and protect them.

Dame Sara said that she would take an “independent, impartial and evidence-based approach” in the public consultation. She wants to hear directly from those who have been targeted by extremists to understand the affect on their lives and the support they have received.

The eight-week call for evidence is open to anyone to contribute to on the government website until June 2.

Brendan Cox, the widower of Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a far-right terrorist in her West Yorkshire constituency during the EU referendum campaign in 2016, encouraged the public to participate in the review.

“I know first-hand the terrible impact extremism can have on individuals, families and our communities.” he said.

“This is a serious challenge for our society and it is vital we do more to respond to this threat.

“I encourage everyone to take part so [Sara] can build your views into her recommendations to the government.”

Minister for Levelling Up Communities Kemi Badenoch said an “unwavering” resolve to “stay united” was necessary to defend against people who “try to create divisions amongst us”.

“By sharing your views, you will be helping ensure that our work to tackle extremism continues on the right track, so that risks in our communities are easily recognised and swiftly dealt with, and we can build resilience and promote social cohesion,” said Mr Badenoch.

Updated: April 07, 2022, 9:51 AM