Prevent Watch

CategoriesNews

CAGE condemns appointment of Lord Carlile as Prevent reviewer

Advocacy group CAGE has said the appointment of Lord Carlile as the “Independent Reviewer for Prevent” confirms that the entire review process is simply about legitimising the controversial counter terror policy. CAGE said the government has re-appointed the same reviewer who approved the current Prevent strategy and has close ties with the intelligence and security establishment. Many Muslim organisations, as well as human rights groups, unions and academics, have said Prevent is a thinly-veiled spying and monitoring exercise which targets the Muslim community. Asim Qureshi, CAGE’s Research Director said: “The core problem with Prevent is that it fundamentally skews the relationship between government and citizens. Muslims are the test community for a government whose long term aim is to bring about a closed society. Read more

CategoriesNews

An upcoming review of the Prevent counter-extremism programme is at risk of becoming a “whitewash”

A coalition of 10 human rights and community groups, including Index on Censorship, have warned that an upcoming review of the Prevent counter-extremism programme is at risk of becoming a “whitewash”. The groups are urging the government to ensure that the review of Prevent is comprehensive and truly independent. Dear Rt. Hon Brandon Lewis, We write as a diverse coalition of human rights organisations and community groups concerned by the impact of the Government’s flagship counter-extremism strategy, Prevent, on fundamental rights, community cohesion and the delivery of public services. We welcome the Government’s commitment to establishing an independent review of Prevent under the auspices of the Counter Terror and Border Security Act 2019. [1] As the deadline for the announcement of arrangements for the Review approaches, we are writing to request that you take appropriate steps to ensure that it is genuinely independent of Government and that its Terms of […]

CategoriesNews

My Schedule 7 stop: Power and coercion presented as “choice” and a “friendly chat”

On 27 July 2019, I was stopped at Heathrow Terminal 5 by British counter-terrorism police after almost two weeks of teaching abroad. Almost immediately after disembarking my plane, I saw a queue of people waiting to have their passports checked by police. I had large headphones on and was listening to an audio telling of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘100 Years of Solitude’, not feeling any sense of threat, I proceeded to approach them with my headphones still on. The Asian officer checked my passport, flicked through it and motioned me to stand to follow him to one side. Read more

CategoriesNews

Why is Sajid Javid so rattled by Cage?

Last Friday, the UK’s former home secretary Sajid Javid, who was appointed on Wednesday as chancellor in Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, delivered a speech at a London community centre in which he attacked several Muslim organisations using the “extremism” label. In today’s world, that is hardly unusual, since the term “extremism” has become broad and malleable in the hands of those in power. Cage was one of the organisations mentioned, which is also not unusual, especially when it comes to the Tories. But what Javid did, which none of his predecessors have done, is to openly declare his opposition to Cage and express, with evident frustration, the extent of our reach, and how he intends to curb our influence and success. Read more

CategoriesNews

From capturing bodies to capturing minds. Why the UK’s attempt to tell us that Prevent is ‘safeguarding’ will fail.

Prevent is the UK government’s counter-extremism strategy. It requires public sector workers to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. Those assessed to be ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ to ‘extremism’ can be referred to Prevent. The policy was first introduced in 2006 by the then Labour government. Under the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (CTS), Prevent was made statutory. Since then, the government has been marketing Prevent as a form of safeguarding. This has led to an upsurge in the referrals of young people with a third of those referrals now happening through the education sector. The rules of the game have been slyly extended Over the course of the last 11 years, Prevent has been developed and built upon an Islamophobic core of state surveillance of Muslim communities. It has since widened this reach to any groups among the population who present […]

CategoriesNews

INSIDE PREVENT A Racist Policy of Social Control?

Hardeep Matharu explores why those in the Muslim community believe that the Government’s controversial counter-terrorism strategy is doing more harm than good. Since its inception in 2003, criticism and controversy has followed the Prevent strategy – an arm of the Government’s counter-terrorism framework. For many in the Muslim community, it is viewed as a sinister policy that is inherently racist; a form of social control and intelligence gathering; deliberately, disproportionately applied to Muslims. Read more

CategoriesNews

CAGE: Data ‘leak’ at campus event proves Prevent is about silencing speech and spying on students

London – CAGE is alarmed that attendees to an Islamophobia Awareness Month event at Kingston University had their data ‘leaked’ – in a serious breach of data protection – to PREVENT. Students have long campaigned against PREVENT and the subsequent securitisation of campuses, which has stifled students’ ability to organise on their campuses. Read more

CategoriesNews

Why are Muslims speaking about justice in universities seen as a ‘threat’?

I write this having spoken at countless and the most prestigious universities across the UK, on topics such as the need to eradicate torture, to achieve accountability for violence by state and non-state actors in the name of the “war on terror,” and the dangers of the British government’s “Prevent” policy. I have frequently spoken about the need to end Prevent – not for the policy to have an “independent review,” but for its abolition. This is because CAGE has counselled hundreds of individuals and recorded their testimonies, and we are confident that Prevent is at its core about securitisation, mass surveillance and silencing dissent. Any policy that does this not only bodes ill for the rest of society – since it lays the groundwork for a startling system of control by the state – but it will not point us towards constructive solutions, let alone establish the trust that […]

CategoriesNews

CAGE: Government concedes PREVENT has lost all credibility as it tries to revive it through accepting an ‘independent Review’

London – In allowing an ‘independent review’ of PREVENT to go ahead the Government has conceded that the policy lacks any trust or credibility. The announcement made by the Security Minister Ben Wallace should be viewed with caution by communities, academics and activists who have been successful in their outright rejection of the policy and in demonstrating its toxicity. This is a time to double up on the calls to end PREVENT. Wallace’s own Parliamentary speech on the Review seemed to point in this direction; as being a means to pacify opponents without offering anything substantive – similar to recent disappointments such as the Chilcot review and Leveson Inquiry. Read more

CategoriesNews

CAGE: Tony Blair’s new report is a poor attempt at censoring Muslim voices and dictating Islamic belief

London – A new report by the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is an academically flawed attempt to remould Islamic belief and silence Muslim voices that challenge repressive state policies. Blair, commonly known for being funded by despots, is now attempting to cast himself as the authority on what is acceptable and unacceptable dissent within the framework of his cash cow, the ‘War on Terror’. The report uses the disbanded Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) as a baseline for “extremist” beliefs, and the authors tar anyone who approximates similar talking points as illegitimate, a superficial guilt-by-association without any actual contextual examination or rigorous academic enquiry. Read more