PUBLIC figures should moderate their language to help tackle extremism, Sajid Javid said last week.
Mr Javid was speaking as Home Secretary, at the launch of the publication of the Commission for Countering Extremism’s first report on the extent of extremism, at the Coin Street Community Centre in London, last Friday.
On Wednesday, he was appointed Chancellor in Boris Johnson’s first reshuffle.
Mr Javid said last Friday: “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.”
He went on to say that it took “the whole of society to challenge these vile views”, including public figures, who “must moderate their language”.
“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’.”
The commission found that 52 per cent of the 3000 respondents to its survey had encountered extremism; and 45 per cent of those who had encountered it had done so online; 39 per cent said that they had seen it in their area.
Extremism is defined by the Government as “vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.
Mr Javid said: “When over half of us have witnessed extremism, it’s gone from being a minority issue to one that affects us all, and the way we all live our lives is under unprecedented attack.”
He argued: “The internet has further emboldened those that are inclined to hate. Angry words whip up a climate of fear and incite hate, violence, public disorder, oppression, and segregation.”
In his speech, Mr Javid also announced that he would block organisations or businesses from sponsoring migrant workers or volunteers if they “reject British values”.
He singled out CAGE, which campaigns for “an end to the injustices of the War on Terror”. Mr Javid said that it was an example of an organisation that “divides us” where it can.
“I’ve amended the guidance for sponsoring migrant workers,” he said. “This will allow us to refuse or revoke a sponsor licence when organisations behave in a way that is inconsistent with British values or against the public good. I will do all I can to ensure groups like Cage are not trusted with the privilege of sponsorship.”
A spokeswoman for the organisation, Cerie Bullivant, said that this was an “opportunistic deflection and dog whistle that has absolutely no impact on our work”.
Mr Javid said that he “knows what it’s like to be told to go back to where I came from”, after he had urged public figures to moderate their language. Last week, President Trump told four congresswomen of colour to “go back home” (Comment, 19 July).