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Ministers publish guide to tackling extremism

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The government has unveiled a new guide to help councils nip violent extremism in the bud.

Communities secretary Hazel Blears, home secretary Jacqui Smith and schools secretary Ed Balls launched the guide this morning at a visit to a community project in Walthamstow.

The north London suburb became linked to radical Muslim extremism following a series of raids connected to the foiled plot to blow up an airliner in 2006.

The guidance offers tips for how councils and other agents should work with individuals and institutions, vulnerable to extremist ideologies, with a view to countering radicalisation, supporting mainstream voices and increasing communities’ capacity to challenge and resist violent extremists.

To support new initiatives, the Home Office is providing an extra£12.5 million in 2008/9 to fund projects specifically to support institutions or individuals vulnerable to radicalisation.

New schemes include extending police-led multi agency projects to identify and support vulnerable individuals at risk of being targeted by violent extremists.

They will also focus on supporting vulnerable young individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system and funding grassroots projects aimed at tackling radicalisation where it has already occurred.

Ms Blears stressed the important role that councils could play in tackling extremism at the local level.

She said: “Local leadership is vital and it is those people that know their communities best - community leaders, local authorities, police and schools - who, with support from government, provide the key to tackling this issue.

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