Prevent Watch

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The Guardian: Doubts over Braverman’s claim to have come forward about code breach

Suella Braverman is under pressure to answer fresh questions about alleged “security breaches”, as a former head of parliament’s intelligence and security committee warned the row threatened to undermine officials’ confidence in sharing sensitive information with her. Government insiders and a senior Conservative MP have challenged the account given by the home secretary and backed up by the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, saying that Braverman only owned up to it when she was confronted with the evidence, and not the other way around, as claimed by Sunak. Source: Doubts arise over Braverman’s claim to have come forward about code breach | Suella Braverman | The Guardian

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BBC: Home Secretary to crack down on ‘disruptive’ protests with new bill

Home Secretary Suella Braverman says the new Public Order Bill being put to MPs this week will stop demonstrators holding the public “to ransom”. But activists said they would not be intimidated by law changes aimed at “silencing non-violent people”. More than 350 Just Stop Oil protesters – demanding halts to all new oil and gas licences and consents – have been arrested in London since the start of October, according to Home Office figures. The new legislation – which will be put to MPs next week – will also see jail sentences of up to six months or unlimited fines for protesters accused of “locking-on” to people, objects or buildings. It would create a new criminal offence of interfering with infrastructure, which would carry sentences of up to 12 months in prison. In addition, police will be given new powers to take a more “proactive” approach to some protests. […]

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Lancashire Telegraph: Blackburn with Darwen gets £600,000 for Prevent

Blackburn with Darwen Council has been given more than half a million pounds to continue its work with Prevent. “Lancashire is a priority area nationally,” said the borough’s public health and prevention head Damian Talbot. Although in 2019, the Home Office assessed that Blackburn with Darwen was no longer a priority area, the borough will still oversee the delivery of Prevent for Lancashire. Source: Blackburn with Darwen gets £600,000 for Prevent terrorism programme | Lancashire Telegraph

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Middle East Eye: Why is Facebook allowing hate from India against Muslims?

Facebook’s parent company Meta is not moderating its social media platform effectively – with disastrous consequences. Why? Hate speech directed at religious minorities has become a routine feature of public life in India. From 2009 to 2014 there were 19 instances of hostile rhetoric towards minorities by high-ranking politicians. But from 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) entered government, to the start of 2022 there were 348 such instances – a surge of 1,130 percent. Today, some genocide experts speak of a possible genocide against India’s Muslims. In this article, MEE examines how Meta, one of the biggest media organisations in the world, has become a broadcaster of genocidal hate speech through Facebook, with potentially nightmarish consequences. Source: Facebook in India: Why is it still allowing hate speech against Muslims? | Middle East Eye

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The Times: Prevent scheme criticised as vague and poorly targeted

The government’s flagship counter-extremism strategy is so vague that it results in thousands of unnecessary referrals by teachers and healthcare professionals, according to a new report. The original article in the Times is behind a paywall, however the report written by Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is available in full. It highlights: Prevent is so vague that it results in thousands of unnecessary referrals by teachers and healthcare professionals. The categories of those who may be “vulnerable to extremism” cover a huge range of people unlikely to participate in terrorism. The “vulnerability indicators” described in the programme’s guidance are “vague and lack clear connections to violent radicalisation”. Source: Prevent scheme criticised as vague and poorly targeted | News | The Times

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The PROP Expert View: A snippet from the Scarman Lecture 2022 – How Prevent undermines democracy

6 Oct 2022 – Since 2008, Criminology at Leicester has invited high profile guest speakers to deliver papers on current issues in criminology, criminal justice, policing and community safety. This year’s Scarman lecture is entitled “Scarman lecture 2022: Preventing equal participation. How the government’s Prevent strategy undermines democracy” and took place on 28 September 2022. Here’s a snippet from the talk given as part of the Scarman Lecture at the University of Leicester by Layla Aitlhadj and Prof. John Holmwood. Source: The Scarman Lecture 2022: How Prevent undermines democracy – The People Review of Prevent

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The Times: Suella Braverman angers No 10 with attack on ECHR

Discipline in the Conservative Party disintegrated further after Downing Street slapped down Suella Braverman for breaking with government policy as she called for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The home secretary said it was her personal view and acknowledged government policy was to work within the boundaries of the convention, which is interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. However, her intervention is another sign of the indiscipline within Liz Truss’s administration at the Tory party conference in Birmingham. Source: Suella Braverman angers No 10 with attack on human rights convention | News | The Times

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IHRC: Prevent is putting religious intolerance at the heart of policy

Prof. John Holmwood argues that David Cameron’s ‘muscular liberalism’ as done away with multiculturalism and constructed a notion of ‘British values’ that scapegoats ethnic minorities by presuming they share none of these values. This has huge implications for education, since it has been injected into schools via the academies (and free schools) programme which removed schools from local authority control and which was actively promoted by Policy Exchange and pursued by Michael Gove. The requirement to promote ‘fundamental British values’ that is part of Prevent is incorporated under Section 78 of the Education Act 2002, which means that the moral and spiritual development of children is now subordinated to a national security agenda. Source: The British Government’s Prevent strategy: Putting religious intolerance at the heart of policy – IHRC

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Community Policy Forum: Leicester disturbances explained

30 Sept 2022 – Dr. Chris Allen writes for the Community Policy Forum that tensions between some of the city’s Hindus and Muslims have been deteriorating and have been exacerbated a decade of austerity measures and cuts to local services. Allen also notes that: concerns were present within the city since at least 2019, so the city’s leadership has not been ‘unwarned’. the Home Secretary Suella Braverman visited Leicestershire Police on 22 September and called on the police to do their job “without fear or favour”. simultaneously, Conservative MP Bob Blackman sent a letter to Braverman blaming the disturbances on “Islamic extremists”, but he is a long-time supporter of the BJP in India. Source: Leicester Disturbances Between Hindus and Muslims: An Explainer – Community Policy Forum

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Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Prevent described as ‘toxic brand’ during Council meeting

Prevent was described as a “toxic brand” at a heated Council meeting this week, where councillors said more focus needed to be placed on right wing terrorism. Councillors said there was a perception among many that counter terrorism scheme was an anti-Muslim programme, and this made it difficult to have important conversations about extremism with some communities in the city. During the Bradford West Area Committee, one councillor claimed there needed to be a greater focus on far right radicalisation – pointing out that the gun that killed Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox had come from Bradford, but no one had ever been arrested over this.