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How Prevent counter-extremism enables the far-right agenda in government

Pro-Prevent lobby groups are currently arguing that the focus of Prevent should be redirected toward Islamism and away from the far-right, but is this just an excuse to play down their far-right agenda? The argument that Prevent is ‘failing’ and that it needs to refocus on so-called ‘Islamist extremism’ should be viewed in light of the ostensible justification of the ‘British values’ underlying Prevent. When ‘British values’ are linked to ‘national security’ The need to teach ‘British values’ as conceived by the government, frames the implementation of the Prevent pre-crime programme in schools. These values – on paper – are democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different religious faiths and beliefs. Their designation as ‘British’ is, of course, problematic. It implies that these ‘British values’ must be inculcated in ethnic minority citizens, yet we have seen that the claim is that most British Muslims share […]

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Expert View: How Prevent undermines democracy

JUMP TO: It is becoming widely accepted that Prevent undermines democracy, but on the other hand, it is true that government has a duty to ensure the security of its citizens. However, the balance between security and liberty is a difficult task and the subject of much debate. As we have shown in our People’s Review of Prevent – Prevent does not fulfil any role in keeping society safe, and in fact may have the opposite effect due to its tendency to undermine democracy. So much so that it is reasonable to state that it is guilty of the very accusations made of those who commit terror offences: attacking democracy. The strength and resilience of a democracy is found in how well it protects the rights of minorities. The current counter extremism strategy, we argue, divides us; it scapegoats British Muslims, encourages suspicion, damages community cohesion. Most importantly, it targets […]

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Expert View: How the UK Prevent strategy ‘adultifies’ young children

The UK Prevent strategy is contributing to undue moral panic and harming young people in the name of “counter-terrorism”, writes Prof John Holmwood, co-author of the People’s Review of Prevent. Here’s a summary of his original piece which appeared in the Middle East Eye. The cases of Child Q and other children have cast a light on the “adultification” of Black children, but this approach also features in the UK Prevent strategy, Britain’s counter-extremism tool, although in this case it is applied to ethnic minority children 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”. Children under 15 make up around a third of all referrals (there were 7,318 referrals in […]