MEND statement on Sara Khan being appointed as Commissioner for Countering Extremism
Categories: Press Releases
Thursday January 25 2018
MEND is firmly of the view that the appointment of Sara Khan (founder of Inspire) to the post of ‘Commissioner for Countering Extremism’ is deeply flawed and inappropriate.
We firstly must question whether the post of Commissioner for Counter Extremism is necessary as the existing counter-terror legislation and infrastructure in place would appear sufficient, without the need for the commission.
Secondly, if the position must exist, we have fundamental concerns regarding Ms Khan’s suitability for the role.
Ms Khan has no grassroots credibility within Muslim communities and no academic background or serious practical experience upon which to take up the role. An important issue to be clarified is that, the lack of any firm definition of “extremism” and “radicalisation” is problematic considering that Ms Khan’s work in this area presupposes a specific focus on “Islamist extremism”. As such, we must question her credentials to tackle the threat of far-right extremism with equal vigour.
Moreover, Ms Khan has lacked transparency over the years with ‘conflicts of interests’ arising between her organisation, Inspire, and public bodies. We are also concerned about misleading information which Inspire has presented to the public domain and its links to Islamophobes which are now being uncovered.
We believe that this appointment will further damage relations between the Government and Muslim communities. We have no confidence in this appointment and are concerned that Muslim communities may refuse to liaise with Ms Khan, thereby defeating the purpose of her appointment to the role.
We call upon the Government to reverse this decision with immediate effect.