Times columnist, James Forsyth (‘Islamism is a greater threat than the far right’, June 16) seriously misrepresents the government’s Prevent strategy and its relation to counter-terrorism. He writes in anticipation of the publication of the much-delayed Shawcross Report, which makes his piece troubling. James Forsyth believes that the number of far right referrals is disproportionate to the risk when compared with those who have committed terrorist offences. This is factually incorrect; in 2021, out of 186 actual terrorism arrests, over 40% were related to suspected right-wing terrorism. Despite the statistics of actual terror offences showing a problem of far-right in terms of actual suspected offences, Prevent still focuses on Muslims. Source: The TIMES gets it all wrong on Prevent – here’s why
Report shows Policy Exchange, which is registered as a charity, called for criminalisation of climate group, previously received money from oil firm. A thinktank registered as a charity that received money from an oil company, later published a report that advised the government to criminalise Extinction Rebellion in its tough new crime laws. Several Conservative MPs and peers cited the 2019 report by Policy Exchange in parliament and the home secretary, Priti Patel, repeated its claims about the climate campaigners being “extremists”. Many of the report’s recommendations, including “to strengthen the ability of police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass law-breaking tactics”, later appeared in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act. Source: Thinktank that briefed against XR given $30k by ExxonMobil in 2017 | Extinction Rebellion | The Guardian
Prevent doesn’t work and never will. The way forward for the UK rests in the realm of ideas and their healthy expression, not in trying to police thoughts, writes John Holmwood. In the People’s Review of Prevent (published in February this year), we showed that Prevent is not working, but also that it couldn’t work. What, then, is its purpose? Why do some people continue to advocate for it and in terms that involve the hostile name-calling of Prevent’s critics, including that they are extremists and enabling terrorism. The answer is that it serves an ideological and populist purpose by scapegoating minority communities.
Prevent was never about safeguarding, but nor is it counter-terrorism, writes Layla Aitlhadj. Even in cases where individuals were potentially victims of other crimes, Prevent conflated and obscured the duty of safeguarding and ignored the perpetrator, to rather focus on the victim. An example of this is when a young boy allegedly being “groomed” online was referred by his teacher; the child was interrogated, his mother pressurised to comply – but not a single thing further was heard about the online “groomer”, the perpetrator in the case. Surely, if Prevent was ever about preventing terrorism, the perpetrator would have been tracked down and dealt with by security services? Source: Government’s true face of aggression is emerging through its about-turns on Prevent – The Peoples Review of Prevent
Schools banning certain religious garments and prohibiting congregational prayer may say that they do so in the name of equity and secularism, but as a teacher, I’ve seen how these policies very clearly target Muslim pupils, writes Nadine Asbali. This goes from forcing Muslim children into the cold and rain to fulfil their obligatory prayers, to Muslim mothers being barred from important school events because of how they dress. As the government reviews its ‘anti-terror’ programme, the plight of young Muslims suffering as a result of racist policy could worsen. Source: ‘I felt interrogated’: the devastating impact of Prevent in schools
3 June, 2022 – Speaking on the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, Dame Sara Khan, a campaigner who has been accused in the past of being a mouthpiece for the Home Office, says Prevent should be “ideologically blind”. Khan also said the UK’s counter-extremism strategy, which is separate from the counter-terrorism scheme involving Prevent, was “completely outdated, it’s no longer fit for purpose”. Asked about Prevent, the former counter-extremism commissioner, who now advises the levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, on social cohesion, said: “Good policy has to be ideologically blind …”
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