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State Secretary visits East End counter extremist project

PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:20 05 October 2010

State Secretary Denham (right)... with youths at Mile End today

State Secretary Denham (right)... with youths at Mile End today

Carmen Valino

THE Secretary of State for Communities was visiting London s East End this-afternoon to hear first hand about a government funded project to tackle extremism.

THE Secretary of State for Communities was visiting London's East End this-afternoon to hear first hand about a government funded project to tackle extremism.

John Denham met with young people taking part in the Digital Disruption project at the Mile End Community Project in Eric Street on the first anniversary of the Government's £12 million campaign to tackle radicalism among young Muslims.

The Digital Disruption project is aimed at countering propaganda targeting young people on the web. The programme gives them the skills to analyse propaganda techniques before teaching them how to create their own videos remixing extremist videos with their own counter views.

Martin Orton from Bold Creative, the company behind the project, explained that most of the young people taking part in the programme have either no trust or very little trust in other people or any main stream media. Instead, he explained, they rely almost entirely on web sites such as You Tube for their information.

He said: "But almost paradoxically their lack of trust can make them more vulnerable to extremist messages. Their lack of resistance to such messages is actually quite worrying."

The group showed Mr Denham an online music video mixing documentary style video footage to create a conspiracy theory about September 11.

Mr Denham then asked the youngsters if they found such messages attractive:

Nazrul Islam, 16, of Mile End, responded: "Yes, it makes sense." He explained the video footage of the World Trade Centre collapsing combined with the music makes it "believable" that Bush rather than Bin Laden planned the bombing.

Tower Hamlets has received £1m in government funding for counter extremist projects.


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