The Government needs to be “more assertive” in challenging extremism, a leaked Home Office document has warned.
The as-yet unpublished counter-extremism strategy includes calls for a review into the operation of Sharia courts, a ban on radicals working unsupervised with young children and changes to rules granting citizenship to ensure people embrace “British values”, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
The strategy looks at the wider issue of radical preachers and those who encourage individuals to hold extremist views, the paper says, with a focus not just on terrorism but on behaviour which can cause division and damage to communities.
The document reportedly states that “in the past, there has been a risk that the Government sends an ambivalent and dangerous message - that it doesn’t really matter if you don’t believe in democracy”.
It adds: “We need to stand up and be more assertive in promoting our values and challenging the extremists who fundamentally oppose them. This will include explaining our foreign policy (and) promoting mainstream voices supporting the quiet majority in all communities who oppose extremism.”
In other measures job centre employees would be required to identify claimants who could be vulnerable to radicalisation, the paper reports, as well as a penalties scheme to make people on benefits learn English.
The document is also said to raise concern following the Trojan Horse plot, saying it was “not an isolated example of schools where extreme views became prevalent”.
It cites universities, local councils and charities as being vulnerable to “entryism”, where people with extremist views purposely get into influential positions from where they can promote their values.
In November the Government unveiled a sweeping package of counter-terror measures in a bid to bolster the UK’s defences.
Home Secretary Theresa May revealed the range of draconian powers included in a new Counter-terrorism and Security Bill, including a legal requirement by schools, prisons and councils to put in place measures to stop would-be extremists from being drawn into terrorism.