Seven under-12s were placed on a government watch list of those at risk of radicalization, all from the West Midlands area of the UK. They were referred by teachers, social workers and parents, to the government’s Channel Project, which conducts counter-radicalization work.
The children were reportedly found to be drawing bombs in class and writing alarming messages.
Local newspaper the Express and Star obtained the information under the Freedom of Information Act. The MP for South Staffordshire, Gavin Williamson, told the paper: “It is alarming that children at such a young age are at threat of radicalisation and that intervention is having to be taken to prevent attacks. Not only is it truly shocking, but these figures show the enormous scale of the problem our police and security services face.”
A statement from the National Police Chiefs Council said “The greatest threat the UK currently faces is from terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam, and who target Muslims. Therefore prevention activity predominately takes place in and with Muslim communities.”
At the end of July an investigation by The Telegraph revealed 758 under-16s were referred to the Channel Project last year for de-radicalization.
David Cameron launched his new approach to tackling Islamist extremism earlier in July, with the government’s new strategy on countering violent extremism to be rolled out in September.