Rights and Security International (RSI) has published a new report that starkly reveals the ways in which the government’s Prevent strategy hinders free speech and discourages non-violent political activism across the United Kingdom. New research shows that Prevent is creating a climate in which anti-racism, environmental justice and peace campaigners, among others, censor themselves. Community activists and political campaigners interviewed for the research reported feeling unable to debate political issues freely without fear of being referred to Prevent. Interviewees who do engage in nonviolent action described examples of being censored by state authorities, including by being denied public platforms to speak, having venues closed and being refused opportunities for funding. Such self-censorship and fears of outright government censorship were consistent across all participants, irrespective of whether they defined themselves as Muslim or non-Muslim. For example, a former teacher cited in the report argued ‘The significant reason for me stopping teaching […]
What is the Islāmic view of PREVENT? In other words, is PREVENT compatible with Islam? This is a question that makes perfect sense to ask once raised and one that a new report seeks to answer. Since its inception in 2003, there has been little discussion on the validity of PREVENT and interaction with it from an Islāmic perspective. This is a curious omission, given that PREVENT has been imposed on Muslims for nearly two decades now. Instead of a critical engagement with PREVENT as a policy, Muslims, and especially Islāmic scholars, have been used by PREVENT and “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) programs more broadly, as tools to implement pre-crime counter-extremism. In fact, scholars have even tried to give PREVENT and CVE legitimacy through a questionable application of theology. Our report, ‘PREVENT, CVE, and Pre-crime – Through an Islāmic Lens,’ subjects PREVENT to Islām. It seeks to understand the political […]
An ex-Royal Marine Special Forces operations planner turned spy agency consultant is advising on the appointment of the next top counter-extremism commissioner, reveals Nafeez Ahmed in another ground-breaking investigation for the Byline Times. The Government panel that will be deciding on the appointment of the next Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism includes a former senior military officer who is a veteran of the Afghan and Iraq invasions. The former colonel now consults for overseas intelligence agencies and advises a private security firm specialising in “covert surveillance”. The Home Office assessor, Col. (ret) Robert Graham Cundy, is a former Royal Marine and British Army Special Forces officer who played a senior role in counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since retiring from the British Army, Cundy has contracted for various UK government departments including providing “capability training packages for overseas intelligence agencies,” according to his biography published […]
The Independent’s Jon Stone reports that Priti Patel has written to MPs urging them to back controversial anti-protest legislation after it was rejected by the House of Lords. Peers inflicted a string of defeats on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last month after critics said some of its measures would effectively ban some non-violent protests. The mammoth bill was defeated over plans to give new powers to police to stop disruptive protests, and on a separate clause which would have imposed noise restrictions on demonstrations. Peers also torpedoed new powers that would make it illegal for protesters to lock themselves to things, and that would give police powers to stop and search those who they suspect of taking part in illegal protests. Labour’s Lord Hain had called the move “the biggest threat to the right to dissent and the right to protest in my lifetime”, while the Green […]
John Lubbock writes for Left Foot Forward that new government guidance on ‘political impartiality’ has been criticised for seeking to chill discussion of political subjects. On February 17, the UK government released a report on ‘Political Impartiality in Schools’. The document effectively tells teachers how they should talk about ‘sensitive issues in the classroom in a politically impartial way’. The guidance has some disturbing aspects which seek to neuter teachers and suppress real discussion about topics like the British Empire, Black Lives Matter, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. The document reminds teachers of their legal duty to be impartial. The law prohibits the “promotion of partisan political views” and says teachers “should take steps to ensure the balanced presentation of opposing views”. Partisan views are those which seek to “further the interests of a particular partisan group, change the law or change government policy”. This leads to some strange ideas about […]
By injecting funds into the oppressive Prevent programme in areas with high concentrations of Muslims, the government can no longer claim that it is unbiased against Islam, says Prevent Watch’s Dr Layla Aitladj in Islam 21C. The People’s Review of Prevent reveals for the first time hard evidence that Prevent is Islamophobic and discriminatory. Amongst the evidence which contributed to this conclusion, was our discovery of the locations of “Prevent Priority Areas” or PPAs, which have been in existence since 2007. PPAs are areas of England and Wales in which the delivery of the Prevent Strategy has been designated as a priority. They do not exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Since 2011, information concerning PPAs has remained a secret. The last known disclosure of the areas was from the Prevent Strategy guidance document. Since then, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests asking for disclosure of the PPA’s were repeatedly denied […]
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