Prevent Watch

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Sara Khan to speak in UAE alongside Trump envoy who ‘lobbied for Tommy Robinson’ #Religion

The UK’s commissioner for countering extremism is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at a conference in the United Arab Emirates alongside a Trump administration official who is reported to have lobbied on behalf of British anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson. Sara Khan, whose appointment to the newly created Home Office role was widely criticisedearlier this year, is due to speak on Wednesday during the opening session of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi, according to a conference agenda seen by Middle East Eye. Critics have denounced the forum as a “PR initiative” to boost the UAE’s image abroad, despite frequent criticism by human rights groups, and to call for the citizens of Muslim-majority countries to be “obedient to their rulers”. Read more

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The new Islamophobia definition deals with symptoms not causes

Jahangir Mohammed of the Centre For Muslim Affairs argues that a proposed new definition of Islamophobia which was heavily promoted last week by a parliamentary group, and backed by certain Muslim organisations, is flawed and has ultimately been decided by non-Muslims. Last week the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, published its report“Islamophobia Defined: A report into a working definition of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred”. Read more

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Index on Censorship report on free speech on campuses erases the Muslim experience

The Index on Censorship report into freedom of expression at universities ignores the experience of Muslims, who are facing the brunt of institutional policies to quell their right to free speech, in what amounts to a total erasure of their voice and experiences on campuses. The report arrives at some agreeable conclusions, and takes into consideration the impact of PREVENT on freedom of expression, however it frames Muslim students as either actors in denying free speech to others, or as nameless victims who have no voice. Read more

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Questionnaire: The Education Sector & Government Policies

This questionnaire is part of a doctoral research project by Max Weedon at the University of the West of England, Bristol.  Full details about this project can be found on the information sheet attached to this survey here. The aim of this questionnaire is to find out more about the views of education professionals regarding the effects of two UK government policies: The ‘Prevent duty’ and the duty to promote ‘Fundamental British Values’.  By finding out the views of education professionals the research aims to facilitate a better understanding of how to improve and implement these policies, hopefully to benefit policy makers, education professionals and students. Read more

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Government’s counterterrorism is limiting texts and topics students can access, experts say

A counterterrorism strategy has created a “culture of fear” across UK universitieswhere freedom of expression and open debate is being stifled, experts and campaigners warn. The government’s Prevent duty, which requires institutions to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”, is having a “chilling effect” on free speech on campus, critics say. Read more

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Prevent: ‘You can’t sell something to someone who does not want it’

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has spoken out against those who are looking to share false ‘propaganda’ and ‘false information’ about the Prevent Strategy. That might explain why many Muslims are embarrassed to be associated with it but it does not shed any light as to why there still a huge level of secrecy surrounding it. To suggest we may be taken in by false narratives is a little patronising. Read more

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Prevent critics ‘on side of extremists,’ says home secretary Sajid Javid

Sajid Javidhas attacked some critics of the government’s Prevent anti-terror scheme for being “on the side of the extremists.” The Home Secretary warned there were organisations putting out propaganda and false information to turn people away from Prevent, which aims to combat radicalisation that might lead people into terrorism. “There are organisations out there that are trying to find ways to warp young people’s minds and they put out what you might call propaganda or false information to try and turn people away from it. We have to fight against that,” he said. Asked if its name should be changed as some critics have advocated, he said: “The thing about the name is that if you didn’t call it Prevent, whatever other name we chose I’m sure there would be people trying to attack it because they actually are on the side of extremists.” Mr Javid did not name any groups but […]

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Discussions around the definitions of Islamophobia skirt the real issues we need to address

London – CAGE is wary of attempts to define Islamophobia that stop short of facing up to the real issues. Discussions around defining Islamophobia have so far failed to acknowledge the significant role of policies like PREVENT and Schedule 7 which are primarily targeted at Muslims and have resulted in institutionalised Islamophobia – and the crucial need to do away with these policies if we are to move forward. Read more

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As a patient of the British health system I felt violated by PREVENT when I should have been cared for

I have ten minutes to see the doctor and it will take all of that and more to discuss my concerns. I tell her I’ve been feeling tired lately. The doctor narrows her eyes at me and says in a condescending tone, then says: ‘You’re wearing a headscarf. I haven’t seen you wearing a headscarf before. How long have you been wearing a headscarf?’ I am shocked. When I object to her line of questioning, she tells me that she was just trying to make pleasant conversation. I calmly tell her that it makes me feel angry when I go to the doctor to discuss my health, and she wants to talk about my religion instead. She picks up her pen and starts writing, saying out loud: ‘I shall write on your notes “Patient was angry”.’ Read more

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Was the Jewish-Muslim ‘chicken soup challenge’ cooked up by UK’s Home Office? #Religion

Last Sunday, the East London Mosque hosted an event called “Chicken Soup Challenge”, in which members of Jewish and Muslim community groups came together to cook chicken soup for the homeless. Jews and Muslims from youth groups, mosques and synagogues attempted to cook a thousand portions of the traditional Jewish dish as part of a programme organised by Mitzvah Day, a charity that promotes a day of social action led by the Jewish community. But the Chicken Soup Challenge was also backed by the UK Home Office, through a programme that provides funding and support for counter-extremism projects, a detail that went unmentioned in reports produced by BBC News and The Guardian. Read more