My name is Robina Samuddin. Welcome to the Getting on Together DVD launch. I work for Cardiff Council as their lead on Community Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism. In my role I have had the good fortune of seeing some of the work that takes place in the different sectors relating to both Community Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism. It is believed that the more we work for Community Cohesion there will be less need for work in the area of Preventing Violent Extremism and to this end Getting on Together (GOT) project has worked through the medium of schools, communities and youth workers in Wales since 2008.
One of my tasks in my role is to mainstream the knowledge and the work in relation to Community Cohesion and this is also taking place with the issues related to Preventing Violent Extremism. This means that all sectors serving our public need be aware of the pertinent issues related to both areas of work as they have an impact on peoples’ quality of life and highlights what service providers ought to be aware of in order to meet the needs of our communities in a more targeted and relevant way. This also allows us to become more educated about the real issues and move away from the myths. There has been a misunderstanding about the work related to the Prevent Strategy for example, many have equated this work as targeting “terrorists”. This is not the case; the work under the Prevent Strategy is work that takes place in the pre-criminal area which is the same as a lot of good work that takes place in prevention of crime. It is important to keep this distinction in mind and this DVD is a good tool to clarify important concepts of vulnerability and radicalisation dealt under the Prevent Strategy. A vulnerable person is not a criminal but it is their vulnerability that makes them a target for the extremist groups who may groom them to commit acts of crime or even acts of terrorism.
There are many organisations and service providers that can identify and support such vulnerable individuals and even those that are radicalised should be seen as individuals needing support to understand the issues or the ideology that is radicalising them. In short there are grievances out there that are very real but extremism is not the answer. To this end this DVD can be used by various organisations that engage with the public at various levels. It can be used for training staff that serve the public and help build their understanding of the issues in question; for example education, health, housing, and organisations that support people from groups such as refugees and asylum seekers, people with mental health problems and ex-prisoners to name a few. It is also very important that young people are given the opportunity and a safe space within which these discussions can take place because rest assured they are discussing these issues amongst themselves. The world events around us are not only the domain of adults who read the newspapers and listen to the news it is also affecting our youth. So let’s start the discussions on how you can use this tool in your area of work. Thank you.