Select Committee on Home Affairs Sixth Report

9 Overall conclusions

224. The United Kingdom is well placed to deal with the issues covered by this report. Our acceptance of religious and ethnic communities is a strength, not a weakness. Issues of integration and diversity have been part of our political discourse for longer than in some other EU countries and we believe that this country is further down the road to accepting that Britons of all faiths and none and of all ethnic backgrounds have a part to play in our society. But experience shows that to reach this goal will require active leadership at all levels: crossing our fingers and hoping for the best will not work.

225. We saw greater confidence at local levels than nationally. The task now is to create an infrastructure for dialogue that will enable that confidence, and that experience of tackling difficult problems together, to make a difference on a national scale. The Government's proposals for action on community cohesion should be implemented with vigour. A forward looking programme should include measures to ensure that central policy is properly understood at local levels, as well as work to establish what may be the causes of a very small number of young Britons turning to violently extremist groups and measures to address them and a programme to engage schools and young people in discussion of these issues. In particular, the Government must engage British Muslims in its anti-terrorist strategy.

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