Prevent Extremism event

The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London held a Prevent Extremism Question Time Event at the Tottenham Centre on Wednesday 13 April. The event was a great opportunity for students to discuss the matter with key influencers in the local community who deal with tackling the issues of extremism.

College Governor, Nims Obunge, was the chair of the panel. Nims introduced the event stating: “It has been a privilege to be part of this College as a Governor for over 8 years and to discuss the core issues of extremism in Britain today.”

Nims was joined by well respected, influential panel members such as Sajda Mughal OBE, 7/7 survivor and Director of the multi award-winning women’s charity JAN Trust; Amanda Dellar, Superintendent from Haringey Police Service; Imam, Kazi Abdul Kair; Leon Joseph, Haringey Council’s ‘Prevent’ Initiative Officer and Mak Chishty, Commander of Engagement at the Metropolitan Police.

Over one hundred students participated in the panel discussion which challenged extremism. The main discussion topics were tackling and preventing extremism, the prevent strategy, immigration, the impact of social media with extremism, safeguarding young learners and foreign policy.

Mak Chishty, Commander of Engagement touched upon the Governments counterterrorism strategy, elaborating that we need to do more to protect our people. Commander Chishty stated: “We need to listen to communities and remain strong, or we’ll become divided. This is a global security problem!”

The students from a variety of courses came together for this event to discuss the issues and concerns about the rise in extremism globally with key speakers who are at the forefront of tackling this issue. The students were advised to identify and notify extremism in order for early intervention, to get the support needed at an early stage.

Bruce Murray, a Public Services student said “I was aware of the issues of extremism but now I feel more informed. From today’s event more students feel passionately to take action to prevent extremism.”

OFSTED Inspector, Julie Steele present at the discussion said: “This event complements the range of activities the college offers to prevent extremism. It is a great opportunity for students to talk and ask questions in a safe environment to a well-respected panel. The event was an excellent way to raise awareness amongst students of the threat posed by violent extremism and the risks posed to young people. ”

Highlighted throughout the discussion was that extremism affects all communities and is not bound to religion or background, it is an issue that could affect anyone.

Principal, Andy Forbes spoke passionately about the importance of young people expressing their voice on politics. Andy expressed:  “There needs to be more student action, getting involved in demonstrations and marches. Why this is not happening today when it was so prevalent 30 or 40 years ago”.

One student replied: “They are too shy”.

Nims responded: “I’m shy too, but you have to stand up for what you believe in”.

Everyone then in the audience stood up, and took a stand for what they believed in, against extremism.

The College ran a similar event last year and plans to build on these events by including an MP, as questions about world politics and foreign policy came up.

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