Prevent Watch

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My Schedule 7 stop: Power and coercion presented as “choice” and a “friendly chat”

On 27 July 2019, I was stopped at Heathrow Terminal 5 by British counter-terrorism police after almost two weeks of teaching abroad. Almost immediately after disembarking my plane, I saw a queue of people waiting to have their passports checked by police. I had large headphones on and was listening to an audio telling of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘100 Years of Solitude’, not feeling any sense of threat, I proceeded to approach them with my headphones still on. The Asian officer checked my passport, flicked through it and motioned me to stand to follow him to one side. Read more

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Why is Sajid Javid so rattled by Cage?

Last Friday, the UK’s former home secretary Sajid Javid, who was appointed on Wednesday as chancellor in Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, delivered a speech at a London community centre in which he attacked several Muslim organisations using the “extremism” label. In today’s world, that is hardly unusual, since the term “extremism” has become broad and malleable in the hands of those in power. Cage was one of the organisations mentioned, which is also not unusual, especially when it comes to the Tories. But what Javid did, which none of his predecessors have done, is to openly declare his opposition to Cage and express, with evident frustration, the extent of our reach, and how he intends to curb our influence and success. Read more

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From capturing bodies to capturing minds. Why the UK’s attempt to tell us that Prevent is ‘safeguarding’ will fail.

Prevent is the UK government’s counter-extremism strategy. It requires public sector workers to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. Those assessed to be ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ to ‘extremism’ can be referred to Prevent. The policy was first introduced in 2006 by the then Labour government. Under the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (CTS), Prevent was made statutory. Since then, the government has been marketing Prevent as a form of safeguarding. This has led to an upsurge in the referrals of young people with a third of those referrals now happening through the education sector. The rules of the game have been slyly extended Over the course of the last 11 years, Prevent has been developed and built upon an Islamophobic core of state surveillance of Muslim communities. It has since widened this reach to any groups among the population who present […]

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Iqra Primary School in Clapham holds pro Prevent meeting

A Muslim primary school in South London has hosted an event which provided a platform for proponents of the government’s controversial Prevent strategy, including a speaker who previously worked at the “Islamophobic” think tank the Henry Jackson Society. Iqra Primary School in Clapham held the event last night which they promoted as a “Community Question Time on Prevent/Islamophobia.” The meeting, which was organised by Faiths Together in Lambeth, was open to parents, carers and community members. Around 40 people attended. The school’s headteacher, Humaira Saleem, hosted the event but all the speakers were representatives from the controversial state-run Prevent programme which has been accused of demonising Muslims and gagging freedom of speech. Read more

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Sajid Javid warns of ‘naked populism’ in US

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has condemned “naked populism” in the US and described chants made at a Donald Trump rally as “completely unacceptable”. Mr Trump disavowed chants of “send her back” aimed at Democratic congresswoman and US citizen Ilhan Omar. Mr Javid said he was “deeply concerned” about polarisation in parts of the US. In a speech, he also warned of racism propelling extremist politicians to power around the world. Speaking about the chants, Mr Javid said: “This is going on in the US today. Imagine if people were saying to me “send him back”. Read more

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Town Hall ‘agreed to disagree’ with Home Office on counter-terror strategy

The council officer in charge of co-ordinating preventative anti-terrorism measures across the borough has revealed that the Town Hall “agreed to disagree” with the Home Office over part of its approach approach. Tracey Thomas, who oversees the delivery of the Prevent strand of counter-terror strategy, revealed in a recent council meeting that it had come in for “criticism” from central government for having a year go by without a referral to multi-agency initiative Channel. Read more

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Tory Islamophobia is rampant and the party is in denial

The British Conservative Party has a problem with Islamophobia, yet there seems to be little movement on addressing it. In fact, if anything, it seems to be becoming more severe. A recent poll of party members conducted for the group Hope Not Hate found a remarkable degree of Islamophobia, with 67 percent stating that “there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law”, and 45 percent agreeing that “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”. In addition, 39 percent said they believed that “Islamist terrorists reflect a widespread hostility to Britain among the Muslim community”. The vast majority said they did not feel there was a problem with Islamophobia within the party, with three-quarters stating the party was “doing all it reasonably can” to combat Islamophobia and other forms of racism. Read more

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East London boy wins £3.5K payout after teachers wrongly report him for supporting ISIS

Tower Hamlets Council in London has paid £3,500 in compensation to an 8-year-old boy after teachers reported him to social services because they wrongly believed he was an ISIS supporter. The alarm was raised when the boy turned up to class wearing a T-shirt with the slogan: “I want to be like Abu Bakr al-Siddique,” the successor to the Prophet Muhammad (saw). But due to their ignorance of Islamic history, teachers thought the T-shirt expressed support for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Read more