“I want to build a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremism”
Prime Minister hosts first meeting of new Community Engagement Forum
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has this week announced new requirements for police forces in England and Wales to record hate crimes against Muslims in the same way as anti-Semitic offences.
Coinciding with National Hate Crime Awareness Week – 10th to 17th October, the announcement was made during the first meeting of the new Community Engagement Forum on Tuesday 13th October.
In 2013-14 police recorded crime statistics showed religious hate crimes increased by 45 per cent and race hate crime by four per cent, whilst this figure is expected to rise upon the publication of new figures this week.
Creating a separate category for anti-Muslim hate crimes will enable police, prosecutors, local authorities and the communities they serve to have a better understanding of the prevalence of such offences and allocate resources accordingly.
It will also provide the first accurate picture of the extent of anti-Muslim hate crime in England and Wales.
Mr Cameron added: “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.”
The forum was organised to discuss 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 will also consider what more the government can do across the board to help support young British Muslims to reach their full potential.
Home Secretary Theresa May added: “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.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Cameron stated that new funding will also be made available for the security of all faith establishments, including mosques – an issue first touched upon during a speech in Birmingham earlier this year.