The organization has issued a document outlining three primary objectives: countering terrorism, countering extremism, and promoting integration; it states, adding that many experts are unclear on the benefits of such categorization.
The independent body will approach terrorism and extremism from a holistic understanding and will work alongside current government programs such as Prevent and Counter Extremism (CONTEST) strategies.
Commissioners will publish finding in Spring 2019 and will update the Home Secretary about recommendations on future collaboration with the body.
— Commission for Countering Extremism (@CommissionCE) September 20, 2018
The document centers on five primary themes, which are public understanding of extremism, the scale of extremism, extremists' tactics and objectives, harms caused by extremism, and the effectiveness of the government's current response.
According to CONTEST, extremism is "the vocal or active opposition to our shared values," including "democracy and the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance of other faiths and beliefs," the government's Counter Extreme Strategy states.
It also considers advocating the death of British armed forces in the UK and abroad to be extremism.
According to YouGov, 73% of people said they were concerned about ‘rising levels of extremism in the UK', the document said.
However, the commission admits that current literature provides scant details on the scale of extremism, including online and offline behavior, and must define clear indicators to gauge it.
Extremists create environments of intimidation to prevent activists from fighting extremism publicly and us anti-racism or pro-free speech to end debate, and clearly outlining the objectives behind ideologies will help citizens respond more effectively, the document claims.
It also highlighted the relationship between the government, local councils and communities in combatting extremism via the Local Government Association (LGA) Special Interest Group on Countering Extremism (SIGCE), funded by the Home Office.
It also indicated that 49 percent of those surveyed believe ‘much more' should be done to counter extremism, and 78 percent believed the government needed to do more.
The Commission will also look at the drivers of extremism, which are widely disputed and could incorrectly target citizens, it states, adding that the internet raises concerns about ‘unintended consequences' of technology and how they could influence extremist ideas and behaviors.
"I believe although it is difficult, countering extremism also provides an opportunity. The opportunity to promote what a positive and inclusive vision for our society looks like in contrast to the hate and fear filled, discriminatory and homogenous society extremists seek to create," Sara Khan, Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism said.