Prevent Watch

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The PROP Expert View: Changes to Prevent prove the policy is a political tool

There are many indications in the government’s restructuring of Prevent, that the policy is a political tool. The first is the refocusing of the Home Office on Prevent in its security aspects. The second is the new interim head of the CCE, Robin Simcox, who was appointed in March 2021. Simcox has strong links with neo-conservative and far-right think tanks. His first announcement was the need to redefine the policy toward right-wing extremism to distinguish far-right groups who operated within the law which, he claimed, were part of normal democratic politics. Thirdly, a recent report from Policy Exchange recommends that the role of the CCE should be “research into extremism, countering criticisms, and evaluating and providing certification for NGOs”. Expectedly, their only targeted organisations are Muslim NGOs. Source: Underplaying the far-right proves Prevent is political – The People’s Review of Prevent

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CAGE Survey: Ukraine vs Palestine solidarity in UK schools

In a survey based on over 500 responses, CAGE exposes the hypocrisy of the British government in its support for Ukraine, while silencing advocacy on Palestine. While the British public has been treated to an outpouring of support for Ukraine and Ukrainians, along with occasionally bizarre spectacles – such as Tory leader-elect Liz Truss declaring her support for Britons going to fight Russia live on TV – during Israel’s 2021 attack on Gaza, under Prevent, schools securitised support for Palestine, advocating restraint and reporting. In the CAGE report, 96% of survey responses confirmed support for Ukraine by their schools, 62% indicated their schools had fundraised for Ukraine, and a small number of schools raised funds to donate military equipment, and/or to donate to organisations linked to the Ukrainian far-right. See the full report here.

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The PROP Expert View: How prevent ‘adultifies’ children

Case Child Q and other children has cast a light on the “adultification” of Black children, but this approach also features in Prevent, though it is applied to ethnic minority children more generally. Under Prevent, children are regularly subjected to interviews by counter-terrorism police without a responsible adult being present. This is occurring to thousands of children each year. Yet they are not under suspicion of a terrorism offence, only of potentially coming under the influence of an extremist “ideology”. Source: How Prevent ‘adultifies’ children – The People Review of Prevent

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Middle East Eye: Rishi Sunak’s Prevent proposals are truly Orwellian

Rishi Sunak’s announcement that he would use Prevent – the government’s counter-extremism strategy – against those who “vilified” Britain has attracted much derision. But Liz Truss’ response was interesting. She thought it was all a bit “thin” and a restatement of what was already government policy. She is right. For those who think this is a sign of worrying authoritarianism to come, it is a wake-up call about what is already in place. The issue is not to seek an “equal opportunities” Prevent – one applied to the right-wing as well as to supposed “Islamists” – but to understand how Prevent undermines the rights of everyone. It is also important to understand how Prevent (and wider counter-terrorism legislation) generates a moral panic about children and young people. Source: UK: Rishi Sunak’s Prevent proposals are truly Orwellian | Middle East Eye

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Gal-dem: Prevent is criminalising Muslims who seek mental health care

The anti-terrorism programme is having devastating consequences for minority communities seeking mental health services. Through the lens of suspicion, Prevent turns the therapeutic space, which should be a place of safety, into a manifestation of some of the worst fears that people accessing these spaces harbour – the fear of being watched, followed and targeted. Source: The Prevent duty is criminalising Muslims who seek mental health care

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Middle East Eye: Tory leadership race shatters hopes for a more tolerant Conservative Party

While the UK’s governing party appears to be celebrating ethnic diversity, it continues to attack religious liberty, write Imran Mulla and Peter Oborne. Tolerance, rightly practised, extends beyond support for ethnic diversity. British multiculturalism, traditionally understood, has entailed the recognition of diverse religious communities – and today, it is under threat, and for British Muslims, the Conservative Party is a hostile force. Source: Tory leadership race shatters hopes for a more tolerant Conservative Party | Middle East Eye

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The PROP Expert View: What’s Sunak’s stats really show us

Sunak’s proposals to classify anyone who “vilifies” Britain as an “extremist” betray an ignorance regarding how counter-extremism harms innocent people. But a closer look at the stats reveal deeper truths. Statistics for the past year up to March this year from the Home Office state that of the 196 arrests for terrorist-related activity, 55 (28%) were subsequently charged for terrorism-related offences. Moreover, the number of white people arrested for terrorist activity increased from last year, and are four times higher than Asian people. So, when Sunak asserts that “80% of live counter terror investigations” are of “Islamists”, what we should be asking is: why are 80% of the terrorism investigations centred on Muslims when arrests of presumably British white people are four times higher? Source: Surely this is the last desperate attempt to revive prevent? – The People Review of Prevent

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The Guardian: Sunak is wrong – and he’s chosen the wrong target

The contender’s plan is idiotic and dangerous. Aren’t Tories supposed to champion free speech, says Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain. The implication of his proposals seems to be that any public sector worker covered by the Prevent duty would be required to refer anyone they believe is “vilifying” to the authorities. Would this include nationalists in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, some of whom would readily vilify England? If not, why not? What about writers within our mainstream media, in publications such as the Spectator? Would Sunak’s policy include those who have non-mainstream political views on our nation’s colonial history? Source: Sunak wants to punish those who ‘vilify the UK’. That’s wrong – and he’s chosen the wrong target | Miqdaad Versi | The Guardian

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The Guardian: Former counter-terrorism police chief attacks Sunak’s Prevent plans

Rishi Sunak’s proposals to strengthen the government’s anti-terrorism programme risk “straying into thought crimes” and are potentially damaging to national security, a former senior police chief has said. Such proposals would lead to more people being referred to Prevent by widening the definition of “extremism” to include those who “vilify” Britain, with Sunak pledging to focus on “rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country”. But former counter-terrorism chief Sir Peter Fahy, who was also chief constable of Greater Manchester police, questioned the precise meaning of “vilification”. He said: “The widening of Prevent could damage its credibility and reputation. It makes it more about people’s thoughts and opinions.” Source: Former counter-terrorism police chief attacks Rishi Sunak’s Prevent plans | Rishi Sunak | The Guardian

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The PROP Expert View: Six spectacular takeaways from Prevent Watch’s 5Pillars podcast

Get the latest expert views from Prevent Watch’s senior caseworker and co-author of the PROP, including: There’s no evidence to prove Prevent’s “success” and we know it doesn’t work The UK criminal justice system is robust enough to handle political violence Some examples of why Prevent is a way to police belief Prevent is secular aggression to draw Muslims away from Islamic belief and behaviour Prevent’s new disguises and how to speak out We do not need Prevent; we only need sound knowledge Or you can view the full 5 Pillars podcast here. Source: 6 spectacular takeaways from prevent watch’s 5pillars podcast – The People Review of Prevent