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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

UK schools refer 2000 children to anti-terror body

One harrowing case involved a nine-year-old boy who said he supported ISIL after watching execution videos

The dilemma over how to deal with captured foreign fighters has been brought into the spotlight. Reuters
The dilemma over how to deal with captured foreign fighters has been brought into the spotlight. Reuters

More than 2000 children were referred to Britain’s government anti-terror body Prevent in one-year, official figures revealed on Thursday.

Britain’s Home Office published statistics which showed schools, colleges and other educational institutions made 2,539 referrals, which accounted for 33 per cent of the total number of referrals.

Most of those referred by educational bodies from April 2015 to March 2016 were under the age of 15.

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One harrowing case included a nine-year-old boy from west London who stood up in school and declared his support for ISIL. The boy said he became radicalised after watching videos of beheadings and burnings carried out by the terrorist group in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The boy, now aged 10, has since been helped by the government’s de-radicalisation scheme, Channel.

Out of the 2127 children under 15 referred, more than 500 were girls.

Officials from the Home Office said that “more and more” cases involved children who had been radicalised online.

"The current terrorist threat uses the internet to groom people and seduce people into violence. Younger people live their whole life online and that's why you're seeing it there,” Security minister Ben Wallace told Sky News.

"What these early figures show is that over 350 people who were really potentially dangerous attackers, either from the far right or Islamist terrorist groups, have been diverted away from violence and potentially therefore not being a risk to you and me on the street."

The majority of the 7,631 referrals made were for Islamic extremism, while around 10 per cent were for concerns related to right wing extremism.

One such referral was for a 47-year-old man, who had Nazi sympathies. He has since credited Prevent for saving him from prison.