Dame Sara Khan DBE

A pioneer in the counter-extremism field, Sara possesses over 15 years lived experience in countering extremism. In 2008 she co-founded and co-directed Inspire, one of the first women led grassroots counter-extremism organisations in Britain.

As an inspiring public speaker, author and policy specialist, Sara’s expertise has been highly sought after by central and local governments, by regulators and public bodies, NGOs and the media. She has counter-extremism experience across many sectors having directly worked with teachers, charities, government, public bodies, police, civil society and faith organisations.

As Britain’s first Counter-Extremism Commissioner, Sara was responsible for running the newly created independent Commission for Countering Extremism, and is the only public official to have independently reviewed the Government’s 2015 Counter-Extremism strategy. Sara was tasked by the Home Secretary Amber Rudd in 2018 to carry out a strategic assessment of extremism across England and Wales. This led to the publication of the report “Challenging Hateful Extremism” as well as a number of other significant publications including the landmark legal review “Operating with Impunity.”

In March 2021, Sara was appointed by the Prime Minister as the government’s Independent Adviser for Social Cohesion and Resilience today  as part of government action to tackle extremism in our communities.  She was awarded a DBE in the 2022 New Years Honours List in recognition of her long-standing counter extremism work.

What Drives Sarah

Sara’s work has never been defined by identity, populist or representative politics; instead her passion and priority has always been to put the UK’s national and democratic interests first.  Sara’s integrity and courage has meant that she has refused to shy away from talking publicly about some of the most sensitive extremism issues of our time.  Driven by defending the values of individual liberty, freedom, equality, democracy and human rights, she looks beyond partisan politics, ideologically driven arguments, and political point-scoring; and is instead driven to work towards building a common consensus.

At considerable personal cost, Sara has dedicated the last fifteen years of her life to challenging extremism, championing human rights and liberal democratic principles; and promoting societal cohesion. Sara has not been afraid to roll up her own sleeves and has a proven track record of directly challenging extremist narratives, groups and individuals and influencing the national debate on issues related to extremism, radicalisation, human rights and societal cohesion.

In 2016 Sara co-authored the book “The Battle for British Islam: Reclaiming Muslim Identity from Extremism” (Saqi Books, September 2016) which provided an in depth analysis of the British Islamist groups and networks currently operating in the country and an examination of their modus operandi.

Sara’s unflappable and authoritative voice continues to influence and lead the counter-extremism discourse in the United Kingdom.

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