British PM pledges $11m to root out extremist 'poison'

LONDON • Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron pledged £5 million (S$10.7 million) to root out the "poison" of extremist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that target the alienated and vulnerable in British communities.

The funds will support local initiatives, campaigns and charitable organisations this year in what he described as a "national coalition" against radicalisation.

"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," Mr Cameron said yesterday.

"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."

The pledge came on the eve of the launch of the government's counter-extremism strategy, which will also include a broader crackdown on extremist content online.

EXPOSING THE LIES

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.

BRITAIN'S PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, in pledging funds for a "national coalition" against radicalisation.

The strategy is widely expected to include "closer working" between Internet companies and police to remove online propaganda, using systems currently employed against child abuse images. There is also set to be a clampdown on extremism in prisons and universities, and incentives for schools to integrate students better.

The new strategy will set out "our new approach to tackle this poison", Mr Cameron said. He warned however that the scale of the challenge was "immense".

A joint industry and government group will also be established to tackle the proliferation of extremist content online.

According to research by British think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, ISIS produces 38 unique pieces of high-quality propaganda daily which are spread on social networking websites across the world.

"The past 18 months has seen a big change in the way that extremists use the Internet to target their radical ideology directly at young minds," the government added in yesterday's statement.

Mr Cameron had already vowed earlier this year to "de-glamorise" ISIS militants and clamp down on extremists in Britain.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'British PM pledges $11m to root out extremist 'poison''. Print Edition | Subscribe