Prevent Watch

‘It’s about your son’: Mother harassed by counter-extremism

harassment by prevent doorstepping counter terrorism

A mother suffered harassment by Prevent over the course of six-months. Prevent officers visited the family home 3-4 times a month regarding her eldest son X, who was studying for his A-levels, in effect forcing her to comply with them.

Prevent officers had systematically harassed ‘X’ to the extent that X would anticipate contact via text or phone call at 07:00am to see if X was awake, and offer him breakfast.

On one occasion, the Prevent officers took him to the local ice-cream parlour, and spoke about Islam, ideology and political issues related to the Islamic state.

Again, due to the climate of fear that already exists within communities impacted by the War on Terror, ‘X’ felt helpless and could not say “no” or refuse the Prevent officers.

X knew that he was being harassed by Prevent, but did not have the confidence to deal with the systematic questioning.

The Prevent officers in this case did not approach the father, but rather contacted the mother, making her an involuntary point of contact.

Prevent was successful in attaining the mothers cooperation. When questioned why she cooperated with Prevent officers, she replied “I have nothing to hide of my sons, and if I don’t answer their questions, they’ll think I’m hiding something, and things will get worse.”

This may indicate that Prevent officers are utilising mothers as a “monitoring tool” against their own children and to effectively police signs of radicalisation and extremism.

The mother in the case eventually recognised that the Prevent officers were not “…here to help [X]”, and she received legal assistance to stop the harassment.

Picture: Unsplash

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