Prevent Watch

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After Christchurch, Muslim commentators must call out the war on terror as much as far right violence

Hours after the horrific terror attacks in New Zealand, which killed 50 people and left many others in critical condition, Muslim commentators were providing their analysis of what led to such a brutal massacre against Muslim men, women, and children, in what was supposed to be a place of sanctuary. A vast majority did not mention the War on Terror. Unfortunately, much of what has been said has been half-baked, playing into existing liberal tendencies to solely focus on the dangers of “far-right extremism”, “white supremacy”, neo-Nazis, and Islamophobic rhetoric by politicians. Read more

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Newspapers help to radicalise far right, says UK anti-terror chief

Britain’s counter-terrorism chief has said far-right terrorists are being radicalised by mainstream newspaper coverage, while also criticising the hypocrisy of outlets such as Mail Online, which uploaded the “manifesto” of the gunman in the Christchurch terror attack. Neil Basu, one of Britain’s top police officers, said it was ironic that while newspapers have repeatedly criticised the likes of Facebook and Google for hosting extremist content, sites including the Sun and the Mirror rushed to upload clips of footage filmed by the gunman as he attacked two mosques in New Zealand. Read more

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Police enlist companies to spot extremism in workers

UK counter-terrorism police are working with companies including McDonald’s, Tesco and River Island on a training programme to help staff to spot early signs of violent extremism in fellow workers. Under the Home Office’s contentious anti-radicalisation programme, known as Prevent, state employees from teachers to local government workers and healthcare staff are already under a legal obligation to look out for those at risk of radicalisation and report any individuals showing signs of extremism. Read more

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Until Christchurch I thought it was worth debating with Islamophobes. Not any more

If you have been paying attention, you will know that there is now a genre of response protocol that is followed after attacks on Muslims. It blows dog-whistles even as carnage is unfolding. A ghoulish routine has become established. It usually goes like this. Condemn the attack in the strongest terms, and then water down that condemnation. We mustn’t get carried away, you see, and forget about the context. Attacks against Muslims must not stop us from continuing to criticise Islam and Muslims when it is warranted. The unvoiced subtext is that maybe these particular Muslim victims didn’t have it coming, but such atrocities don’t come out of nowhere. But, you know, thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Read more

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Anti-extremist policy targeting UK Muslims successfully appealed

The landmark legal challenge ruled that guidance given to universities and colleges which saw speakers with ‘extremist views’ being banned from events was unlawful. The UK’s so-called ‘counter-extremism’ Prevent strategy has always been a controversial policy. Not only have its negative consequences been felt and condemned in the United Kingdom, but its inherently flawed basis has been exported across the globe in the form of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) strategies. Now an important judgment from the UK Court of Appeal has begun to tentatively turn the tide against Prevent, particularly in UK universities where it has had a chilling effect on students’ ability to have open discussions on important issues. Read more

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Prevent duty guidance to universities unlawfully violates freedom of speech, rules court of appeal

The Prevent duty legally binds universities to curbing on-campus radicalisation as part of the UK’s counter-terror legislation strategy. Yesterday, the court of appeal found the government’s guidance to universities on carrying out the duty to be unlawful. The ruling argued that the guidance does not sufficiently inform universities of their duty to ensure freedom of speech. The judicial review focused on paragraph 11 of the Prevent duty guidance to higher education institutions in England and Wales published in 2015, which says that universities should not allow events featuring external speakers to proceed “if the views being expressed, or likely to be expressed, constitute extremist views that risk drawing people into terrorism or are shared by terrorist groups”, unless this risk can be “fully mitigated”. Read more

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UK’s Prevent guidance to universities unlawful, court rules

The government’s Prevent duty guidance to universities is unlawful and must be rewritten, judges have ruled after a successful judicial review argued that it violated freedom of speech. The court of appeal found that Prevent guidelines on inviting controversial speakers were not balanced and accurate enough to inform universities of their competing obligations to ensure free speech while stopping people being drawn into terrorism. It came after Dr Salman Butt, 33, a Muslim writer and publisher, brought a claim that the guidance went too far by containing a strong presumption against allowing events to go ahead where the risk of students becoming radicalised could not be eliminated. Read more

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Lessons from the Shamima Begum case: Racist populism and collective guilt

Jahangir Mohammed says the Shamima Begum case demonstrated the power of populist propaganda and racist laws in holding Muslims collectively guilty for crimes they didn’t commit. The mainstream media (MSM) often drives itself and its consumers into a cycle of racist frenzy. This tends to result in calls for new laws and actions against those perceived as “foreign”, and not really belonging on these shores, usually Muslims and people of colour. Read more