Prevent Watch

CategoriesNews

UK’s charity regulator urged to investigate Policy Exchange over ‘anti-Muslim agenda’

Simon Hooper reports for Middle East Eye on a complaint to the Charity Commission, which calls for the think tank Policy Exchange to lose its charitable status. The UK’s charities regulator is being urged to investigate the Policy Exchange think tank for alleged racism and Islamophobia, over a report in which it accused Muslim critics of the government’s Prevent strategy of “enabling terrorism”. In a letter to the Charity Commission, the authors of a critical review of the UK government’s controversial counterterrorism strategy, the People’s Review of Prevent, called on the government to review the think tank’s charitable status, accusing it of “promoting vilification and even hatred” towards Muslim communities. “As a charity, Policy Exchange must remain non-partisan and be detached from government. Yet it would appear Policy Exchange is neither, acting primarily as a vehicle for political propaganda and anti-Muslim narratives,” said Layla Aitlhadj, a director at Prevent Watch, […]

CategoriesNews

How a neo-conservative think tank defined British Muslims

In an exclusive extract from his new book The Fate of Abraham, award-winning MEE commentator Peter Oborne explains how Policy Exchange has helped to dismantle traditions of tolerance and multiculturalism in the UK, with Muslims its main target. In the wake of the calamity of the Iraq invasion of 2003, one might have supposed that the ideology which lay behind Tony Blair and George W Bush’s bloody misadventure would have been discredited. This has not happened. Neo-conservatism has continued to set the parameters for a great deal of policy discourse, and its supporters have continued to occupy many of the most prominent positions in British (and American) public life. There are a number of reasons for this resilience. In the UK, Policy Exchange, a London-based think tank, is one organisation which kept the neo-conservative flame burning. Though its public profile is small, it has exerted prodigious influence in political circles. […]

CategoriesNews

David Cameron endorses report tied to man he called ‘Muslim no-go zone’ “idiot” and ‘neo-Nazi’

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Byline Times that the former Prime Minister has put his support behind a new Policy Exchange report targeting Muslim civil society groups as ringleaders in the ‘enabling’ of terrorism. A new report claiming that critics of counter-terrorism policy are “enabling terrorism” is closely connected to a ‘white genocide’ believer who worked for a far-right conspiracy theorist whom former Prime Minister David Cameron called an “idiot” for describing Birmingham as a ‘Muslim no go zone’. The report by the Policy Exchange think tank is also linked to a coalition of European far-right parties, including the Sweden Democrats – a party with “neo-Nazi tendencies”, according to the current Israeli Ambassador to the UK. Its publication reveals how far-right ideologues are successfully attempting to use influential centre-right think tanks to mainstream their worldviews through the language of national security and counter-extremism. Delegitimising Counter-Terrorism: The Activist Campaign to Demonise Prevent […]

CategoriesNews

Policy Exchange report is submitted to the UN as evidence of Islamophobia and racism

The People’s Review of Prevent today submitted the Policy Exchange report, entitled Delegitimising Counter-Terrorism, as further evidence to the UN of sustained and structural discrimination against British Muslim civil society.  The report is a weak attempt to shutdown the wave of criticism that will follow the long overdue Shawcross-led government review into Prevent, which was boycotted due to its lack of independence and integrity. Policy Exchange makes the shocking claim that Muslim critics of the failing counter-extremism policy are ‘enabling terrorism’. The report offers little in terms of research or academic criticism but presents a series of attacks only Muslim civil society organisations and individuals who are critical of the government’s toxic Prevent programme and its impact on Muslims and wider society. Source: Press Release – The People Review of Prevent

CategoriesNews

Britain’s Trojan Horse: A hoax that still harms children

Ex-chair of Park View Educational Trust Tahir Mahmood Khan, writes for Al Jazeera that the Trojan Horse hoax served to legitimise, legalise, and institutionalise a discriminatory culture against Muslim children. In 2014, sensationalist headlines circulated in the United Kingdom about an alleged Muslim plot to take over schools. The so-called “Trojan Horse” involved “extremists” infiltrating Birmingham to “sow terrorism” in young minds. As the then chair of the Park View Educational Trust, which ran three of the schools in question, I suddenly found myself in the centre of a media storm, subjected to a multitude of government inspections and inquiries looking into alleged improprieties. It was a classic moral panic. Subsequently, all of our schools were deemed failures, despite having been ranked as outstanding before. They were placed under “special measures”, which created the possibility of removing senior leadership in the accused institutions. Of course, we rejected the supposed findings […]

CategoriesNews

Meeting told how Trojan Horse Affair has ‘left a scar’ in Birmingham

The Birmingham Mail reports that although not one MP accepted an invitation to a panel discussion on the fallout of Trojan Horse affair, the event gave people a safe space to speak about the ‘scars’ it left. Birmingham’s Trojan Horse affair is ‘not over for us’, with its impact still reverberating through Muslim communities. That was the standout message at a panel discussion into the issue organised by city mosques. Around 100 Brummies, mostly Muslim, attended the event at the University of Birmingham as part of the ‘Under the Lens’ series of talks examining social issues, organised by mosques across the region. This event was coordinated by the university’s Islamic Society and Chaplaincy. Despite the organisers’ best efforts, none of the city’s MPs or councilors accepted an invitation to take part. But that gave panelists the opportunity to air their opinions in what had become by default a safe space […]

CategoriesNews

Prevent is hindering environmental and anti-racism movements too, new research finds

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 […]

Quran CategoriesNews

New report seeks to answer if PREVENT is compatible with Islamic principles of due process

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 […]

CategoriesNews

Is Priti Patel trying to militarise counter-extremism in Britain?

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 […]

Black Lives Matter CategoriesNews

Priti Patel urges MPs to back anti-protest laws

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 […]