Tuesday 14 January 2020 11:52 am

Sadiq Khan and Google launch counter extremism fund

Google and Sadiq Khan have teamed up to create a counter extremism fund in response to November’s London Bridge terror attack.

The £800,000 fund, run in partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, will offer grants to local organisations to provide services and education to prevent extremism and radicalisation.

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The mayor of London and Google.org have each contributed £400,000 to the initiative and groups will be able to bid for grants of up to £50,000 from the fund.

Khan said money would be invested in “local communities and grassroots groups”, because “evidence shows they are best placed to counter hate, intolerance and extremism”.

“Extremism, intolerance and hate crime of any kind has absolutely no place in our city and I have worked closely with the police and all communities across London as we battle against this scourge,” he said.

“Sadly, we have also too often seen extremism on our streets with the horrific terror attack in London Bridge in November last year – as well as homophobic, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents.

“Violent extremism is one of the biggest threats facing London and our country.”

The fund comes after University of Cambridge graduates Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt were fatally stabbed by Usman Khan at Fishmongers’ Hall on London Bridge.

The attack has been followed by a spate of antisemitic graffiti being plastered around London.

Figures from the The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) show that racist hate crime offences have risen by 56 per cent in the past six years, while homophobic and Islamophobic offences have doubled.

Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, welcomed the initiative, but said it needed to be a part of a larger strategic response.

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“This new initiative is to be welcomed, but there will always be a temptation with a community-based fund like this to reward worthy – rather than effective – initiatives,” he said.

“Grassroots action has its place, but needs to form part of a strategic approach to tackling extremism that joins up lots of different component parts.”