By injecting funds into the oppressive Prevent programme in areas with high concentrations of Muslims, the government can no longer claim that it is unbiased against Islam, says Prevent Watch’s Dr Layla Aitladj in Islam 21C.
The People’s Review of Prevent reveals for the first time hard evidence that Prevent is Islamophobic and discriminatory.
Amongst the evidence which contributed to this conclusion, was our discovery of the locations of “Prevent Priority Areas” or PPAs, which have been in existence since 2007.
PPAs are areas of England and Wales in which the delivery of the Prevent Strategy has been designated as a priority. They do not exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Since 2011, information concerning PPAs has remained a secret. The last known disclosure of the areas was from the Prevent Strategy guidance document.
Since then, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests asking for disclosure of the PPA’s were repeatedly denied on the grounds of national security. For ten years, this information was not made available to the public, until now.
My colleagues and I submitted FOIs to over 200 local authorities in England and Wales asking them several questions, including whether their local authority was a PPA. The process, which highlights the level of opacity of Prevent, was both frustrated and frustrating.
Now, for the first time since 2011, information concerning the PPA’s has been disclosed. The findings are most disturbing.
There are currently 44 PPA’s throughout England and Wales. Using the census data available to us, we determined that 31.5% of the population in England and Wales live in a PPA.
But when we overlayed the data on religion we realised a disproportionately high 73% Muslims living in England and Wales are covered by a PPA.
By any benchmark, this is state-sanctioned discrimination against Muslims.