Lib Dem Maajid Nawaz: ‘Coalition government has failed to deal with Islamic extremism’

Maajid Nawaz at The Winch. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Maajid Nawaz at The Winch. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

Hampstead and Kilburn’s Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate has slammed the coalition government, including members of his own party, for failing to deal with Islamic extremism in communities.

Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam, said David Cameron’s government had “failed” to deliver a counter-extremism strategy at a time when it is “needed more than ever”.

Mr Nawaz, who has advised the previous three governments on counter-extremism, singled out communities secretary Eric Pickles for obstructing a government strategy.

The Lib Dem praised Theresa May’s Home Office for its counter-terrorism work in keeping UK citizens safe from attacks but said a promised strategy for dealing with extremist influences in communities had not been delivered by Mr Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

“I think it’s his Bradford roots, he’s sensitive to certain lobbying that would come from Muslim communities who are naturally very defensive about this,” said Mr Nawaz.

“The Lib Dems could have, and should have, done more. They have had ministers in DCLG. The government has failed to produce something that is needed more than ever.”

At a press conference on Tuesday at The Winch, in Winchester Road, Swiss Cottage, Mr Nawaz announced he was launching a “Camden Anti-Extremism Alliance” to “stand up to extremism and violence in the borough and across the country”.

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Bob Neill, vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “Conservatives in government have worked to confront and challenge extremism in all its forms, tackling the violence and hatred that seeks to create division.

“We have championed what unites our country across class, colour and creed, and we are standing up for and supporting British values.

“Mr Nawaz should ask his Liberal Democrat colleagues why they blocked and briefed against the government’s extremism strategy. The only way to get a clear plan to defeat extremism is to vote Conservative.”