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State Secretary visits East End counter extremist project

PUBLISHED: 16:19 08 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:21 05 October 2010

THE Secretary of State for Communities visited London s East End to hear first hand about a government funded project to tackle extremism. John Denham last week met with young people taking part in the Digital Disruption project at the Mile

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Video: Carmen Valino

By Else Kvist

THE Communities Secretary visited London's East End to hear first hand about a government funded project to tackle extremism.

John Denham last week 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 campaign to tackle radicalism among young Muslims.

The Digital Disruption project is aimed at countering propaganda targeting young people on the web. The programme teaches them about propaganda and techniques used before giving them the skills 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 that ironically their lack of trust can make them more vulnerable to extremist messages. “Their lack of resistance to such messages is actually quite worrying,” he added.

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

Mr Denham them asked the youngsters if they found such messages attractive.

Nazrul Islam, 16, of Mile End, responded: “Yes, it makes sense. They make it look believable that Bush rather than Bin Laden planned the bombing.”

The youngsters told Mr Denham that they had either no or very little understanding of propaganda before taking part and they would like to see the issue covered in the school curriculum.

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