This first event of its kind took place on the 26th May 2015 at the University of East London Stratford USS building. It was organised by TGS and supported by the University of East London under the Prevent programme, Step In Step Out (SISO). SISO is the soft Counter-Terrorism strategy of TGS. Its aim and objective is to be more proactive and address vulnerabilities that lead young men and women to Step Into violent extremism. It also has a reactive programme that helps those who have already been radicalised as violent extremists to Step Out and become law abiding citizens. The conference was a one day conference structured to have presentations and workshops. Delegates were given a number of choices to make from the workshop list.This conference was unique because it was the first time the issue of addressing radicalisation from the ignored African Heritage perspective was made a primary focus at any international event.
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Delegates who attended the conference came from all over the UK and the international community including Netherlands, U.S, Norway, Nigeria, Somalia, Cameroon... The event was attended by high profile personalities; several ambassadors , representatives of the UK Counter Terrorism Unit, London Met police, members of the security services, Borough Councillors, UK Prevent coordinators, Cambridgeshire Police, Midlands Police, Representatives from Northern Nigeria (Borno), Human Rights Activist, Inter faith organisations, academics, civil society organisations , selected members of community groups and the media. SISO experts and speakers presented on a wide range of subjects reflecting on the need to tackle extremism from all communities and the danger of ignoring the African communities which is equally affected and vulnerable to radicalisation and violent extremism.
Speakers and workshop presenters at the conference included Mr. Sunny Ahonsi (Chairman) Director of RISXCEL, HE Nkwelle Ekaney, High Commissioner of Cameroon UK, Mr Jonathan Paris, a Middle East Expert and Senior Adviser Chertoff Group, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz , Senior Lecturer at UEL Dpt Law, Brian Grim (PHD) President of Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, Janet Hills , President of Metropolitan Black Police Association, Barrister Zannah Mustapha , Director and Founder of Future Prowess Islamic Foundation Northern Nigeria, Mr. Yousiff Meah, Director of Recora Institute, Tahir Mahmood , Expert Radicalisation formula, Mr Chris Samuel , Director of Intelligence and Strategic planning TGS, David Otto Director of Counter-Terrorism, Organised Crime and SISO programme . The keynote speaker for the day was Barrister Aisha Wakil (Mama Boko Haram) a Human Rights Activist from Northern Nigeria, Borno.
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At the end of the conference speakers and delegates called for the need for stakeholders to address Radicalisation and violent extremism from all affected communities and stressed the danger involved in sidelining the African communities in the UK and the EU. More African role models and African experts were encouraged to be more proactive in engaging in solution based decisions that affect their communities. There was a need to follow up with another conference to discuss the active role of women in combating violent extremism following the recent increase in the use of young girls and women suicide bombers in Northern Nigeria and neighboring states Cameroon, Chad and Niger. This conference will be coming up in early 2016. Delegates will receive notification for this upcoming event.
The organisers of this SISO event want to thank the University of East London, delegates and speakers for making this awareness programme on Radicalisation from the African Heritage perspective a success. We hope this event will set the stage for a global strategy against violent extremism.