The government is to provide £5m of support for charities and community groups that want to combat extremism.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, announced yesterday that the funding would be designed to "build a national network of grass-roots organisations to challenge all forms of extremist ideology".
The funding, which will be available in the current financial year, would be used to provide direct and in-kind practical support to groups "to expand the reach and scale of their work to confront extremism, and develop credible alternative narratives to the dangerous views propagated by extremists", according to a statement from 10 Downing Street.
This could include social media training, technical assistance to enable a small charity to set up a website or targeted funding for specific projects, it said.
The move was announced before the launch of the government’s new counter-extremism strategy today.
The strategy notes that charities "can be exploited by extremists" and says that addressing the abuse of charities for terrorist or extremist purposes is one of the Charity Commission’s strategic priorities.
It says the Charities Bill, which is going through parliament, will broaden the circumstances under which the commission can disqualify people from being charity trustees, "including where their conduct – past or present – would damage the public’s trust and confidence in charities".
The strategy says: "Once the legislation is enacted, the commission will be able to take stronger action against a variety of abuses, including extremism."
Cameron said: "We need to systematically confront and challenge extremism and the ideologies that underpin it, exposing the lies and the destructive consequences it leaves in its wake.
"We have to stop it at the start – stop this seed of hatred even being planted in people’s minds and cut off the oxygen it needs to grow."