Government appoints campaigner Sara Khan as first counter-extremism tsar
The Government has appointed Sara Khan as head of a new body responsible for finding and rooting out extremism in the UK.
The anti-terror and women’s rights campaigner will lead the new Commission for Countering Extremism from next month for an initial three years, the Home Office confirmed.
The new role, which was promised by the Prime Minister after the Manchester terror attack, will involve giving independent advice to ministers on the best policies to tackle extremism.
The body is also tasked with promoting “pluralistic British values”, training schools and colleges to spot warning signs and ensuring women’s rights are upheld.
One of the Commission's first tasks will be to form an assessment of the threat from extremism and the current response to it.
Ms Khan said she was “honoured and humbled” to have been handed the job of lead commissioner, adding: “I recognise the scale of the challenge we face in confronting extremism and I am deeply committed to this role.
“I will create a commission that is forthright in challenging extremism in the name of our shared values, fundamental freedoms and human rights.
“To those in our country who recognise the harm and threat extremism continues to pose in our society, I am eager to collaborate and engage.
“I extend my hand out to you to work with me in supporting the Commission’s work in building a Britain that defends our diverse country while demonstrating zero tolerance to those who promote hate and who seek to divide us.”
The move has been met with scepticism including among senior Conservatives, with the peer and former party chair Baroness Warsi suggesting last night that Ms Khan could act as a “mouthpiece”, tweeting that the Government had instigated “another Toby Young moment”.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd welcomed the appointment and said the Commission would form a “crucial part” of ministers’ work to stop the “scourge of extremism”.
She added that Ms Khan “will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Commission, which will prove vital as it works to identify and challenge extremism and provide independent advice to the Government”.