Tackling non-violent and violent extremism involves community engagement work and due diligence capabilities and interventions from security services. It also involves community based projects which upskill the knowledge based of parents and young people, provide some theological challenge and practical pastoral care to individuals. Just some of the ways to counter extremism.
Yet, as we have mentioned time and time again, where is the financing of such groups coming from? Who are the key individuals, trusts or governmental funders of such groups in the U.K? Who are the front companies and organisations that are the shells for ‘washing’ the origins of the sources as they enter the U.K? These are key questions that we have raised and which no counter-extremism organisation has delved into.
We have raised these questions before with ministers and with organisational partners challenging extremism. Yet, many counter-extremism organisations are only comfortable ‘developing networks’, talking shops which they promote as key work to tackle extremism. Very few of the network partners are willing to openly challenge extremism, taking the easy route of working under the parapet, co-ordinating further meetings and re-creating the veneer of important work.
12 years on from the introduction of the Countering Violent Extremism policy under the then Labour Government, civil society groups working with Government have been unwilling or unable to close down the channels of financing of extremist groups. Yet, the reality is that unless this work is done, toxic financing will continue to spread divisive extremist rhetoric into our communities and society.
It is time that cross-governmental agencies, from the Treasury, Inland Revenue, Home Office and MHCLG work with civil society groups who are willing and potentially able to expand this scope of work. Without this essential work, we will always remain behind the curve.