Prevent Watch

Middle East Eye: Shawcross Prevent reforms risk ‘slide into authoritarianism’, critics warn

authoritarianism suella braverman
The UK is facing a “slide into dangerous authoritarianism” if the government proceeds with the recommendations of a contentious review of Prevent, critics of the strategy have warned. In a joint letter issued on Tuesday, a coalition of civil society organisations including Amnesty International, Liberty, and a wide range of Muslim community groups called for the withdrawal of the review, which Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has already pledged to implement in full. William Shawcross’s review, published last month after years of delays, called for Prevent to prioritise the threat from Islamist extremism over far-right extremism, and said that confronting Islamist narratives should be a “principal component of Prevent activity”. Shawcross accused some critics of Prevent of themselves being “radicalising influences”, and suggested there was a “concerted campaign… to undermine and delegitimise” the programme. They said: “Despite raising legitimate evidence-based concerns, critics of Prevent have been ignored and smeared. One of the recommendations from the Shawcross review, which the Home Office has said it would endorse, is the creation of a designated group to further silence critical views. This is an affront to civil society and free speech.” Its response said the review was “explicitly discriminatory” in its focus on Islamist extremism, and, if implemented, would make British Muslims “second-class citizens”. It said Shawcross had presented no evidence to suggest that Prevent was effective, and described Prevent as “a placebo for a wider public anxiety about security”. It described the reforms to the programme recommended by Shawcross as having “the hallmarks of a dangerous political project”. Source: Shawcross Prevent reforms risk ‘slide into authoritarianism’, critics warn | Middle East Eye Related…  

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