Prevent Watch

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Prevent counter-terrorism strategy remains unfair on British Muslims, despite Home Office effort

The Home Office responded to concerns over the effectiveness, legitimacy and transparency of its controversial counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, by making fresh data available for public scrutiny in mid December. The figures reveal 7,318 people were referred to Prevent in the year to April 2018, compared to 6,093 the previous year. Amid allegations that the counter-terrorism strategy discriminates against British Muslim communities, the Home Office data highlight a more balanced approach to Islamist and right-wing extremism, although evidence of disproportionate targeting remains. Read more

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British Muslims will live with an intolerable burden of uncertainty under new counter-terrorism bill

Imagine a small, rat-infested town. Everyone is complaining about the rats and it dawns on the mayor she might gain some political advantage from dealing with the issue. So, she poisons the town’s water. Lo, all the rats die. But there are side effects: the poisoned water is making people sick. Not everyone, mind you – not those who can afford bottled water. Just those who rely on the town’s water supply. Some strategies can have devastating consequences despite their best intentions. This what is happening with the UK government’s counter-terrorism strategy, and in particular the Prevent duty, which puts an onus on those who work in public institutions such as schools, universities or hospitals to report individuals they suspect may be vulnerable to radicalisation. As the parable of poisoned water suggests, though the UK may package its counter-terrorism strategy for all people, its consequences for British Muslims have been exceedingly disproportionate. Read more