Extremism is “thriving” in some parts of the UK, but the “true scale of the problem” is not yet known, says the Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism.
Commissioner Sara Khan added that what experts do know “is very likely to be just the tip of the iceberg”.
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“Extremism is thriving in some parts of our country, but we do not know the true scale of the problem and the full impact it is having on our society – what we do know is very likely to be just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
“I know from meeting more than 400 experts and activists in 13 towns and cities across England and Wales over the last six months that extremism is affecting not just individuals but also our communities and the very fabric our society.
“It is weakening trust in the very institutions we cherish, is undermining our democratic values and is inciting violence, hatred and hostility.”
Ms Khan added that extremists are becoming “increasingly professional” in order to promote their “hateful ideologies”.
'Defend our fundamental freedoms'
The Commission was set up the Prime Minister Theresa in 2017 following the terror attacks that happened last year.
On Thursday, the British public were called on to share their experiences of extremism, which will be used in a final study due to be released next year.
Ms Khan launched the appeal saying that a “complex” issue such as extremism required “a whole society response”.
“Despite the threat of growing extremism, we still lack a full picture of it in our country; and how best to counter it,” she said.
“Extremism is a complex and multi-faceted issue. It is a whole society problem and requires a whole society response.”
She added: “It is essential we defend our fundamental freedoms and rights from those who seek to undermine them. All of us – families, communities, schools, civil society, academia and government have a part to play in defeating extremist ideas and activities and my Commission will support society to do this.”