LONDON - Speakers at Capita's 2nd National Preventing Extremism Conference have stressed upon the British government to devise a multi-dimensional policy to tackle the issue of violent extremism. "The government should realise the impacts of its foreign policy in context of attacks on Pakistan and Iraq under US War on Terror, ensure effective engagement with mosques and imams, bring Muslim youth and women in mainstream as well as design and provide preventative and diversionary solutions with bottom up approach," speakers suggested while addressing the Conference here. The Conference, organised by Capita Conferences, was supported by Stockwell Green Community Services, Home Office and British Muslim Forum. Mark Gilks, Chief Executive, London Borough of Hounslow, chaired the proceedings. According to British Home Office, the country is faced with the threat of Al-Qaeda-influenced terrorism. It is estimated that around 2,000 individuals pose a direct threat to national security and public safety because of their support for terrorism. Addressing the Conference, Toaha Qureshi, Chief Executive, Stockwell Green Community Services, underlined the importance of channelling young people away from extremism. He said the SGCS had launched a number of programmes to prevent Muslims, especially youth, from social exclusion and extremism. "We're working on this issue since 1999. We informed the authorities about the looming threat of extremism well before 7/7 incidents," he told the Conference. He said the SGCS had launched programmes like SEED (Support for Employability Enhancement and Development) and PROSEED (Providing Real Opportunities and Support for Employability Enhancement and Development) for the British youth. "These programmes are to be followed by our new project PALM (Preventative & Lasting Measures) that is coming soon. Whole of this effort is determined to divert those at risk of becoming radicals and offer exit strategy to those involved in extremism activities," he added. Stephen Rimmer, Director, Prevent and the Research, Intelligence and Communications Unit, Home Office, shed light on UK government's efforts to counter terrorism and extremism. He said the UK government and society was faced with key challenges like developing transparent and effective information sharing, capacity building of partners and communities, communication of evidence around and importance of local narrative focused on vulnerability. He further said the government set out a series of activities in 2007 to mobilise communities against violent extremism, adding, "We need to work in partnership with communities to challenge and expose the ideology that sanctions and encourages indiscriminate violence." He stated the society needed to stop people, especially young people, getting drawn into illegal activities associated with violent extremism. "We need to expose and isolate apologists for violence and protect the places where they operate," he added. Mark Lee of Communities and Local Government Department said that his department was working to identify and address the grievances which could fuel discontent among the communities. "We are seeking to deepen our understanding of the diverse Muslim Communities in the UK, including links with their heritage countries," he added. Kiran Box, Manager, Safer Communities Partnership Plan, London Borough of Redbridge, spoke on "Tackling Extremism Together in Redbridge" and informed participants of the Conference of measures being adopted in her area to tackle the issue. She was of the opinion that all the stakeholders would have to understand political sensitivity of the issue besides considering the importance of language. She said the local Muslim community was quite diverse and lots of community conflicts persisted in it. She was of the opinion that the mosques could not reach out all sections of society. "They (Muslims) should be given opportunity to express their grievances with local, national and international issues," she concluded. Addressing the Conference, Muhammad Afzal of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, spotlighted the importance of 'Imam Training' to successfully address the extremism issue. He informed the participants that the Council had launched an Imam Training programme under which 52 Imams were being imparted training. "Most of the Imams cannot communicate in English. So, we've launched courses like English for Imams, ICT, E-Citizen, Arabic Language and First Aid," he disclosed, saying the courses would enable Imams to disseminate true teachings of Islam to all the Muslims in general and youth in particular. Aftab Malik of United Nation's Alliance of Civilians apprised the participants of use of Internet in extremism activities. He told the participants that extremist websites jumped from 20 to 4,500 during the last eight years. Citing a survey carried out after 7/7, he said only two per cent respondents declared mosques primary source of their religious information while a vast majority of students cited internet as their main sources of religious information. "Some 42 people were convicted on terrorism charges in 2007 and in almost every case Internet played a role," he added. Speaking on the Role of Women and Extended Family, Catherine Heseltine of Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK, stressed the need for empowering women and youth within community and mosques. She claimed that the extremism issue could effectively be addressed by launching a four-pronged strategy. "This plan includes effective citizenship education through mosques, supporting appositive identity, support to mosques to develop education programmes and empowerment of women and youth."