Experts on the harms of the Prevent strategy, including Prevent Watch, warned about the dangers teenagers face in the education sector thanks to the the “climate of fear” created by Prevent, at a meeting in Westminster last week.
Dr Layla Aitlhadj, Director and Senior Caseworker for Prevent Watch, stressed the disproportionate focus Prevent has on not only British Muslim communities but youngsters under the age of 20.
“There are between 6,000-7,000 referrals that occur every year, two thirds of those are under 20s. So these are children and young adults being affected.
“Based on last year’s statistics, we calculated that in every school day in England, at least six children under the age of fourteen are being referred to Prevent… It’s the education sector which makes more referrals, by far, which refers more suspects to Prevent than the police.”
The event, hosted at Portcullis House with Labour MP John McDonnell in attendance, highlighted how the education system is encouraging educators to strictly monitor their students and try to identify who among them could be a “potential terrorist.”
Another speaker, Thabo Huntgeburth, a research assistant at the London School of Economics and Political Science, spoke out about the Prevent training course required by university staff.
“It made me think back to Communist East Germany, it might be because I am German and we remain very diligent, for good reason with very diligent history classes. People under communism were ostracised and excluded from society as ‘terrorists.’
Read more on 5 Pillars.
- The pressure-cooker effect: The harms of self-censorship on Palestine (Expert View, 2023)
- How Prevent will target a child, but ignore the cause (Expert View, 2023)
- The People’s Review of Prevent (Report, 2022)