Extremism, in all its forms, was discussed at Brent's Civic Centre at a Question Time style event last night (3 October).
Experts - Alex Krasodomski-Jones from leading think tank Demos, Dr Varun Uberoi from Brunel University and Dr Sara Silvestri from City University London all took their seats on the panel, along with Cllr Michael Pavey, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities. The event was chaired by Hassan Mujtaba from the London Tigers youth development charity.
The first part of the event saw the panel answering questions from members of the community and reflecting on issues such as the line between extremism and patriotism, the government's Prevent agenda and what the biggest challenges and barriers are, to tackling extremism in Brent.
The second part of the event was the most important; the opportunity for the community to get together and take part in workshops to drive real, community-led solutions to the issues raised. All forms of extremism were discussed and the Council will now take the lessons learnt from last night to work alongside the community and develop grassroots strategies to tackle the scourge of extremism.
The event was part of the Council's wider 'It's Time to Talk' campaign which aims to empower residents and community leaders to talk about difficult issues and work together with the authorities to tackle them. Important challenges such as child sexual exploitation, gang culture, domestic abuse & harmful practices are all expected to be discussed at separate events throughout the year.
Cllr Pavey, said:
"I want to be very clear that last night's event was only the beginning. We are genuinely passionate, as a Council, to work with the community continuously in driving real solutions to issues we face in Brent.
"We know that the Council cannot solve this issue alone. We know we cannot patronise young people or tell them what to do. That's why we need to learn from the community in order to develop long-lasting strategies to tackle extremism in our Borough.
"I'm really pleased with how successful the event was in bringing people of all backgrounds together to discuss ideas and solutions, and I look forward to the conversation continuing."