British PM announce anti-extremism strategy funding

London, Oct 18 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the government will provide funding for anti-extremism projects in communities and tackle online attempts to radicalise the vulnerable, the media reported on Sunday.

The government will invest 5 million pounds (about $7 million) this year, and more in the future, to build a national network of grassroots organisations to challenge all forms of extremist ideology, the Guardian reported.

“We need to systematically confront and challenge extremism and the ideologies that underpin it, exposing the lies and the destructive consequences it leaves in its wake,” Cameron said.

“We have to stop it at the start – stop this seed of hatred even being planted in people’s minds and cut off the oxygen it needs to grow.”

He said the new funding would be dedicated to providing direct support to groups to expand the reach and scale of their work to confront extremism. Projects will include social media training and technical assistance to enable small charities to set up websites.

The government also wants to replicate the methods used by police in taking down images of child abuse.

Officials said there had been a big change over the past 18 months in the way that extremists used the internet to target young minds.

According to recent research from the Quilliam Foundation, the London based counter-extremism thinktank, Islamic State’s high-quality propaganda is disseminated widely by a network of supporters and sympathisers worldwide.

Extremists are also increasingly using the internet to inspire radicalisers to groom new recruits through online peer-to-peer relationships.

The Metropolitan Police’s Counter-terrorism Internet Referral Unit has now removed more than 110,000 items of extremist propaganda since 2010, and over 38,000 so far this year, with referrals from the public up 400 percent between end of 2013-14 and 2014-15.

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