05/12/2013 06:48 GMT | Updated 03/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Time to End UK Government Reticence to Extremism

The Prime Minister's Extremism Task Force report "Tackling extremism in the UK" has apologised for not doing enough to tackle islamic extermisim:

We have been too reticent about challenging extreme Islamist ideologies in the past, in part because of a misplaced concern that attacking Islamist extremism equates to an attack on Islam itself. This reticence, and the failure to confront extremists, has led to an environment conducive to radicalisation in some mosques and Islamic centres, universities and prisons.

Regarding extermisim:

Extremism is less likely to be tolerated by communities which come together to challenge it. Britain is stronger because of its open, multi-faith and multi-racial communities, which can tackle extremists together and challenge the view that it is not possible to be a true Muslim and be integrated in British society. Approaches in the past that, on occasion, sought to deal with different communities as separate and distinct, were mistaken.

It is important that this effort is led locally by communities who know their areas best. Alongside confronting the extremist narrative, the government will: set up a dedicated public communications platform to allow communities to bring to life the success of integration and challenge the extremist worldview.

The report mentions that extreme islamism includes creating a "them" and "us" narrative regarding military intervention abroad which separates Muslim identity from being British. As such the task force recommends integration measures targeting at risk communities - including central government powers to take over from Local Authorities if they are not doing enough. An example of this happening already is British Muslim soldiers going into schools where extremism was a concern in the community to talk to children.

Schools and prisons are a focus, including supplementary schools. Ofsted have shown a willingness to tackle schools, but whether the voluntary code of conduct will be effective for supplementary education remains to be seen in practise. For prisons the focus is not just on Muslim Chaplains with the right training, but also reeducating islamic extremist prisoners and the radicalisation of inmates. Support on leaving prison is also highlighted. This is not state Islam as some have tried to spin it.

The report highlights handling foreign extreme right wing influences as well as Islamic hate preachers that wish to enter the UK. Regarding domestic extermisim:

The killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich was the impetus to look closely at whether the government was doing all it could to confront extremism and radicalisation. We know that the international terrorist threat to the UK comes primarily from those people who are inspired by Al Qa'ida's distorted interpretation of Islam and use that as justification for killing innocent people. But we must tackle extremism of all kinds, including the Islamophobia and neo Nazism espoused by the murderer of Mohammed Saleem to justify his terrorist attacks against mosques in the West Midlands.

The real test will be how to handle groups that can be defined as being "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs" which the government defines as extermisim. For example would we be concerned by a group which stated:

However, in Democracy the right to decide right and wrong is in the hands of people instead of the Creator of the universe. Under the banner of freedom, democracy makes humans free from the limits of living life according to Islam. The elected representatives of the people make laws according to their own whims and desires. The decision of the majority is supreme, whatever this decision may be. Hence, democracy does not have any connection with the deen. So, it is not allowed for Muslims to accept any system which is based on democracy.

Allah ﻰﻟﺎﻌﺗو ﻪﻧﺎﺤﺒﺳ said, ُ مَﻼْﺳِﻹا ِﻪﱠﻠﻟا َﺪْﻨِﻋ َﻦﻳﱢﺪﻟا ﱠنِإ "Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam." [Surah Al-Imran 3: 19]

For this is Hizb ut Tahrir manifesto (link is to second edition, post quotes the first edition), who are represented in the UK, which:

calls the Muslim armies to give Hizb ut Tahrir the Nussrah (Material Support) so that Khilafah is established. So, rush to fulfill the great obligation of working to establish the Khilafah, before it is established and you are deprived of the reward for doing so! The decision lies with you, so when will you respond? [Italics added denote in first edition not second edition of manifesto]

Will the British Government respond by calling Hizb ut Tahrir an extremist organisation and using the new powers to counter them? Will the government also weigh in on gender segregation at public meetings as not integrating with British values on gender equality?

Enough of Government reticence - time to act.