Prevent Watch

CategoriesNews

An Islamophobic security agenda shouldn’t mix with arts funding

The last few days have seen a furore over the Bradford literature festival’s decision to accept funding from the Home Office. Some 12 speakers have pulled out of the event so far, in protest at the source of the money, the government’s “Building a Stronger Britain Together” fund, a scheme that supports projects that supposedly counter extremism. As a result of the row, reputational damage has been done to this award-winning festival. Let’s be clear why this has happened: the government refuses to engage with Muslim communities in a meaningful way – unless it is under the auspices of counter- extremism or counter-terrorism. Why does funding offered to Muslim communities so often appear under this guise? We’ve also seen this in the form of the goverment’s terrible Prevent counter terror strategy, which is a toxic presence and is already under review. Read more

CategoriesNews

Bradford festival boycott over counter-extremism funding

Many writers and activists have withdrawn from the Bradford literature festival (BLF), after it was revealed that the festival received funding from a form of the Government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy, Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSTB). BSTB is a Government programme that provides “funding and support for groups involved in counter-extremism projects in their communities”. [1] Part of the 2015 Counter-Extremism Strategy, it operates alongside the PREVENT strategy and funds over 230 groups, as specified on the Government website. [2] [3] It is the first time that the festival has accepted the funding after its establishment in 2014. Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, a spoken word artist more publicly known as “thebrownhijabi”, was the first to withdraw from the ten-day festival. She announced her withdrawal on Wednesday through a statement on social media. Read more

CategoriesNews

Six pull out of Bradford festival over counter-extremism funding

Six writers and activists have pulled out of the Bradford literature festival (BLF) in protest after it emerged it received funding from a government counter-extremism programme. The group withdrew from planned appearances after learning that the 10-day event, which was founded in 2014, has accepted money provided as part of the Home Office’s counter-extremism strategy for the first time. The Home Office programme, Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT), provides “funding and support for groups involved in counter-extremism projects in their communities”. Separate to the counter-terrorism Prevent strategy, BSBT is part of the 2015 counter-extremism strategy and funds more than 230 groups. Read more

CategoriesNews

Bradford Literature Festival withdrawals: Prioritising principles over promotion

Within the past day, a number of scheduled participants for the Bradford Literature Festival have announced their withdrawal from the event, on account of the Festival’s acceptance of counter-extremism funding. These participants include poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, organiser Sahar Al Faifi, ex-NUS President Malia Bouattia, activist Lola Olufemi, authors Waithera Sebatindira and Hussein Kesvani – and all should be rightfully applauded for their principled stances. The Bradford Literature Festival had accepted funding from the Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) fund, which comes under the 2015 Counter Extremism Strategy. The list of fundees of the BSBT strategy is publicly available on the Home Office website, and spans Muslim organisations as well as sports teams, cultural organisations, social enterprises and supposedly ‘antiracist’ groups such as Hope not Hate, Faith Matters and Show Racism the Red Card. Read more