We Need Terrorism Minister

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gavin Cordon

Tony Blair has been urged to appoint a counter-terrorism Minister to co-ordinate the battle against violent extremism.

Commons Home Affairs Committee chairman John Denham said he was concerned that initiatives launched in the wake of July 7 bombings to combat extremism in the Muslim community were running out of steam.

Many members of the Muslim taskforce set up by the Prime Minister were now feeling "disillusioned" that their efforts had failed to produce concrete results.

He said the creation of a counter-terrorism Minister, with responsibility for all aspects of the problem, would give the issue new impetus in Whitehall.

"One of the reasons why things lose political impetus is that actually nobody in Government is day-to-day in charge of bringing together all the elements of counter-terrorism, particularly fighting extremist, violent ideas at community level," he said.

"I think if you had a single Minister who brought all of those elements together at a senior level of Government you perhaps avoid this problem of things being started and not seen through.

"If they ranged from a good knowledge of what was happening on the intelligence and policing side of things through to a real, hands-on involvement with the discussion and dialogue and practical work at community level, I think it would help avoid the situation where the Government launches initiatives which then peter out.

"We are going to live with terrorism for decades to come anyway, but if we don't develop these effective community strategies against terrorism we will live with it far longer than we need to. …