Prevent Watch

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Conservative Party accused of ‘fundamental failure’ over Islamophobia

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has accused the Tory Party of “fundamental failures” in tackling Islamophobia. Its head of public affairs, Miqdaad Versi, said he had seen “hundreds of cases” within the party, “demonstrating the scale of the problem”. When action was taken, he claimed the offending members were “quietly let back into the party”. Read more

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MI5’s use of personal data was ‘unlawful’, says watchdog

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner said Mi5 kept personal data gathered under warrants, kept it too long and did not store it safely, and that the security service handled large amounts of personal data in an “undoubtedly unlawful” way. Civil rights group Liberty said the breaches involved the “mass collection of data of innocent citizens”. The high court heard MI5 knew about the issues in 2016 but kept them secret. “MI5 have been holding on to people’s data – ordinary people’s data, your data, my data – illegally for many years,” said Megan Goulding, a lawyer for Liberty, which brought the case. “Not only that, they’ve been trying to keep their really serious errors secret – secret from the security services watchdog, who’s supposed to know about them, secret from the Home Office, secret from the prime minister and secret from the public.” Read more on the BBC.

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CALL FOR BUSINESSES TO HELP PROMOTE PREVENT

Counter Terrorism Policing is calling on business leaders to play a greater role in promoting Prevent in order to stop vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism. Only one percent of referrals to the scheme that seeks to support individuals before they become involved in criminal activity come from the business sector. This is despite police having built strong links across many industries since the attacks of 2017. The UK’s lead counter terrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, told a conference of senior security managers today (Monday June 10) that he wants to see more referrals and even more partnership working between police and the private sector. He said: “Prevent is about using early intervention, safeguarding and supporting individuals to stop terrorism in its tracks. We receive round 7000 referrals a year but less than one percent of these come from businesses. Read more

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RAPID RESPONSE: RELIGION, ‘BRITISH VALUES’ AND EQUALITIES TEACHING IN THE CONTEXT OF PREVENT

The Birmingham Trojan Horse affair – a supposed plot to Islamicise schools – which hit the headlines in March 2014 has been the main impetus for changes to the Government’s Prevent strategy. The affair was viewed as deriving from a failure of integration of some within Britain’s Muslim communities and their embrace of values inimical to democracy, the rule of law and tolerance toward other religions. New guidance on fundamental British values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and religious tolerance) was put forward to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. Yet Ofsted reports prior to 2014 had found no evidence of anything untoward in the schools in question and had declared the pupils to be well-prepared. Additionally, professional misconduct cases against teachers allegedly involved in the plot collapsed because of improprieties in the pursuit of the prosecution case. Yet the narrative of a threat to integration and […]

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Sandwell College lecturer sacked over ‘racist’ poster protest

A college lecturer has been sacked after defacing a poster on display at a college to say it was racist. The poster at Sandwell College promoted the Prevent scheme – the legal duty for teachers to report students who show signs of being drawn into violent extremism. David Muritu said he had acted in “a moment of frustration” but felt the strategy unfairly targeted Muslims. Sandwell College said it expected staff to “act professionally”. The Universities and College Union (UCU) warned industrial action was now an option. Read more

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College accused of ‘everyday racism’ after sacking lecturer

The new Universities and College Union general secretary has accused the leadership at Sandwell College of “everyday racism” after it sacked lecturer Dave Muritu. In an interview with FE Week, Dr Jo Grady said there is “everyday racism in colleges”, and that “we have seen that just this week with someone being dismissed at Sandwell”. Muritu was fired by the college last week for writing the word “racist” on a poster promoting the Prevent strategy. Despite admitting to drawing on the poster and apologising for his actions, the lecturer was dismissed for gross misconduct on the grounds of “serious damage to college property”, “bringing the college into disrepute” and “use of inappropriate language”. Read more