Britain to fund security at mosques

London, Oct 13 (IANS) Britain on Tuesday announced special funding to enable mosques and other faith establishments to improve their security measures.

It was one of the measures outlined at the first meeting of the new Community Engagement Forum, set up by Prime Minister David Cameron to fight extremism, Xinhua news agency reported.

Latest figures published on Tuesday by the government’s department for internal affairs, revealed there were 52,528 hate crimes recorded by police in 2014-2015 — an 18 percent increase compared with the previous 12 months.

More than four out of every five of those crimes were related to race.

Religious race-hate crime registered the biggest rise, an increase of 43 percent, from 985 in 2013-2014 to 3,254 a year later.

Cameron said police forces in England and Wales will record anti-Muslim hate crime as a specific category in recorded crime statistics.

Police already keep a separate record of anti-Semitic attacks against members of Britain’s Jewish community.

Britain “wants to build a national coalition to challenge and speak out against extremism”, he said.

The task of the new forum, which includes around 30 leaders of different faiths, is to discuss themes and objectives of the forthcoming counter-extremism strategy, including mobilising a national coalition to challenge extremism in all its forms.

It will also consider what government can do to help support young British Muslims to reach their full potential.

“We all have a role to play in confronting extremism,” Cameron said.

Cameron wants British Muslims to know Britain will back them to stand against those who spread hate and to counter the narrative which says Muslims do not feel British.

His strategy was backed by Home Secretary Theresa May who said Britain’s counter-extremism strategy will be published later this month and will introduce a wide range of measures to defeat all forms of extremism.

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