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James Brokenshire reassures faith leaders during Manchester visit
Security Minister reaffirmed the government's commitment to tackling extremism as he met Muslim, Hindu and Christian faith leaders
On 18 November 2013, Security Minister James Brokenshire spoke at a roundtable discussion at Manchester Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, which was also attended by representatives from Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police. It was the first in a series of UK visits arranged to highlight the steps being taken to combat extremism and demonstrate how this work is supported by action to protect religious institutions.
The Minister condemned attacks against mosques and Islamic centres in the aftermath of events in Woolwich, including those carried out by Pavlo Lapshyn in the West Midlands, he said:
The government takes hate crime and extremism of all kinds very seriously. Freedom of worship has long been a part of British tradition, and everyone in this country has the right to practise their faith without fear of intimidation, harassment or violence.
During the summer, police visited approximately 150 institutions in Greater Manchester, following up their visits by distributing basic safety and security advice and increasing patrols in some areas.
Nationally, the Prime Minister set up the Extremism Task Force to see what more could be done to tackle extremism in all its forms, including the threat of far-right groups. This will build on the work of the Prevent programme.
The government also supported the establishment of Tell MAMA, an initiative which measures and monitors anti-Muslim incidents in England and refers victims to support services.
Following the visit, the Minister said:
Terrorists and extremists seek to destroy togetherness and cause division among people. This government and the police are working hard to ensure safety and security but, most importantly, it is the resilience and determination of people across Britain, including those I met in Manchester, to stand firm that will ensure extremists never succeed.