Organisations that reject British values will not be allowed to sponsor migrant workers, the Home Secretary has announced as part of his plan to tackle extremism.
Sajid Javid used a speech on Friday to attack the London-based CAGE group, which campaigns for an “end to the war on terror”.
He said it is one of the most prominent organisations that “rejects our shared values” and promised to revoke its licence to sponsor people coming into the country.
Mr Javid said: “When criticised, they claim the Government is anti-Muslim, something they will no doubt say about me later today.
“I will act against those who seek to divide us whenever I can.
“So, I have amended the guidance for sponsoring migrant workers. This will allow us to refuse or revoke sponsor licences when an organisation behaves in a way which is incompatible with British values.
“I can tell you I am planning to revoke CAGE’s licence, subject to representations. I will do all I can to ensure groups like CAGE are not trusted with the privilege of sponsorship.”
The Home Secretary said he has personally prevented eight extremists from entering the country, including a white supremacist, a black nationalist from the US and hate preachers from a number of faiths.
Mr Javid also criticised anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in his speech entitled Confronting Extremism Together, revealing Jeremy Corbyn threatened to sue him last year.
“The leader of the opposition even threatened to sue me, yes sue me, last year for calling out an anti-Semitic tweet from one of his supporters,” he said.
“This has to end now because if the people sitting in Parliament don’t show moral leadership and tackle extremism, how can we expect the rest of society to?”
Mr Javid said he would take an “unashamedly tough” approach to those who spread poisonous ideologies as he announced he has asked his officials to start work on a comprehensive new counter-extremism strategy.
Mr Javid called for an honest “national conversation” about extremism and challenged anti-immigration rhetoric, which he says is stoking division and fear.
The son of Pakistani immigrants, he drew on his own experiences growing up in Rochdale.
“Growing up in the 70s, looking like this, extremism was part of my life.
“I would change my route to school to avoid members of the National Front.
“I watched my mum, time and time again scrub the word ‘Paki’ from the front of our shop and, rightly or wrongly, as a child I punched a bully who used the same racist slur to my face.”
Mr Javid stopped short of condemning Donald Trump’s tweets, telling four female Democratic politicians to “go back” to the countries from which they came, as racist.
But he said: “I’m from an immigrant family, I know what it’s like to be told to go back to where I came from and I don’t think they mean Rochdale.”
He added: “We must confront the myths about immigration that extremists use to drive divisions.
“We know the scale is exaggerated to stoke up fear and that they use immigration as a proxy for race.
“Anyone can challenge the myths peddled by extremists that deepen divisions.
“So tell your friends, shout it loud and proud: people from minority backgrounds did not steal our jobs, they’re not terrorists, that there is no global ‘Zionist conspiracy’.”
Mr Javid outlined a three-pronged approach of tackling extremism – confronting narratives, strengthening communities’ resilience and tackling causes – in what is being touted as one of the first major interventions since the Counter Extremism Strategy was launched in 2015.
He called for further integration within society, more help for people to learn English and greater support for communities and a celebration of national identity.
“I will not flinch from confronting extremism. I will do everything in my power to stop those who seek to undermine our country,” he said.
“Everyone has a part to play: broadcasters who must not give a platform to extremists; police who must swoop on the worst offenders; public figures who must moderate their language.”
This morning we listened to @sajidjavid set out his vision for countering extremism in the UK. As policing continues to tackle a rise in hate crime of all types, we agree that the time for a national conversation on #extremism and divisive rhetoric is long overdue. pic.twitter.com/SX0qaNth8k
— NPCC (@PoliceChiefs) July 19, 2019
The speech came following the publication of a poll carried out by the independent Commission for Countering Extremism, which is working on a review of the threat and response to extremism in England and Wales.
Almost 3,000 people replied to the call to share their experience of extremism, the commission said.
The results show more than half (52%) of the respondents have witnessed extremism, with 45% of them saying they had seen it online and 39% of them reporting seeing it in their local area.
Of those, 59% said they had seen Islamist extremism, 37% far right extremism and 29% far left extremism.
Speaking ahead of the Home Secretary’s speech, lead commissioner Sara Khan said: “I was shocked to see that more than half of the respondents have witnessed extremism in some way, and that two-fifths of those that had witnessed it said they’d seen it in their local area. “The findings underline the breadth and severity of the concerns we have in 2019. “People are scared that violent extremists will incite or carry out an attack.”