Prevent Watch

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The PROP Expert View: How prevent ‘adultifies’ children

Case Child Q and other children has cast a light on the “adultification” of Black children, but this approach also features in Prevent, though it is applied to ethnic minority children more generally. Under Prevent, children are regularly subjected to interviews by counter-terrorism police without a responsible adult being present. This is occurring to thousands of children each year. Yet they are not under suspicion of a terrorism offence, only of potentially coming under the influence of an extremist “ideology”. Source: How Prevent ‘adultifies’ children – The People Review of Prevent

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Middle East Eye: What is the alternative to Prevent?

Prevent doesn’t work and never will. The way forward for the UK rests in the realm of ideas and their healthy expression, not in trying to police thoughts, writes John Holmwood. In the People’s Review of Prevent (published in February this year), we showed that Prevent is not working, but also that it couldn’t work. What, then, is its purpose? Why do some people continue to advocate for it and in terms that involve the hostile name-calling of Prevent’s critics, including that they are extremists and enabling terrorism. The answer is that it serves an ideological and populist purpose by scapegoating minority communities.

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The PROP Expert View: Government’s true face is emerging through its about-turns on Prevent

Prevent was never about safeguarding, but nor is it counter-terrorism, writes Layla Aitlhadj. Even in cases where individuals were potentially victims of other crimes, Prevent conflated and obscured the duty of safeguarding and ignored the perpetrator, to rather focus on the victim. An example of this is when a young boy allegedly being “groomed” online was referred by his teacher; the child was interrogated, his mother pressurised to comply – but not a single thing further was heard about the online “groomer”, the perpetrator in the case. Surely, if Prevent was ever about preventing terrorism, the perpetrator would have been tracked down and dealt with by security services? Source: Government’s true face of aggression is emerging through its about-turns on Prevent – The Peoples Review of Prevent

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Huckmag: ‘I felt interrogated’ – the devastating impact of Prevent in schools

Schools banning certain religious garments and prohibiting congregational prayer may say that they do so in the name of equity and secularism, but as a teacher, I’ve seen how these policies very clearly target Muslim pupils, writes Nadine Asbali. This goes from forcing Muslim children into the cold and rain to fulfil their obligatory prayers, to Muslim mothers being barred from important school events because of how they dress. As the government reviews its ‘anti-terror’ programme, the plight of young Muslims suffering as a result of racist policy could worsen. Source: ‘I felt interrogated’: the devastating impact of Prevent in schools

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Prevent is Islamophobic by design, not accident – New Statesman

Nadeine Asbali comments on how the leaked findings of the Shawcross review of Prevent have produced findings on mental health that are perhaps the most horrifying. The leak revealed that Prevent is “carrying the weight” of a chronically underfunded mental health service. Money for counter-terror is such a never-ending pot of gold, while funding for mental health is stretched so thinly, that some institutions are referring vulnerable people to Prevent because it will fast-track financial support. This comes as we are in the middle of a mental health epidemic and young people are some of the worst affected with one in six children aged six to sixteen experiencing a mental health condition. Whether maliciously-intended or not, the alarming repercussions of this cannot be understated. Source: Prevent is Islamophobic by design, not accident – New Statesman

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Britain’s Trojan Horse: A hoax that still harms children

Ex-chair of Park View Educational Trust Tahir Mahmood Khan, writes for Al Jazeera that the Trojan Horse hoax served to legitimise, legalise, and institutionalise a discriminatory culture against Muslim children. In 2014, sensationalist headlines circulated in the United Kingdom about an alleged Muslim plot to take over schools. The so-called “Trojan Horse” involved “extremists” infiltrating Birmingham to “sow terrorism” in young minds. As the then chair of the Park View Educational Trust, which ran three of the schools in question, I suddenly found myself in the centre of a media storm, subjected to a multitude of government inspections and inquiries looking into alleged improprieties. It was a classic moral panic. Subsequently, all of our schools were deemed failures, despite having been ranked as outstanding before. They were placed under “special measures”, which created the possibility of removing senior leadership in the accused institutions. Of course, we rejected the supposed findings […]

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Meeting told how Trojan Horse Affair has ‘left a scar’ in Birmingham

The Birmingham Mail reports that although not one MP accepted an invitation to a panel discussion on the fallout of Trojan Horse affair, the event gave people a safe space to speak about the ‘scars’ it left. Birmingham’s Trojan Horse affair is ‘not over for us’, with its impact still reverberating through Muslim communities. That was the standout message at a panel discussion into the issue organised by city mosques. Around 100 Brummies, mostly Muslim, attended the event at the University of Birmingham as part of the ‘Under the Lens’ series of talks examining social issues, organised by mosques across the region. This event was coordinated by the university’s Islamic Society and Chaplaincy. Despite the organisers’ best efforts, none of the city’s MPs or councilors accepted an invitation to take part. But that gave panelists the opportunity to air their opinions in what had become by default a safe space […]

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New government rules on ‘political impartiality’ in schools will chill free speech

John Lubbock writes for Left Foot Forward that new government guidance on ‘political impartiality’ has been criticised for seeking to chill discussion of political subjects. On February 17, the UK government released a report on ‘Political Impartiality in Schools’. The document effectively tells teachers how they should talk about ‘sensitive issues in the classroom in a politically impartial way’. The guidance has some disturbing aspects which seek to neuter teachers and suppress real discussion about topics like the British Empire, Black Lives Matter, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. The document reminds teachers of their legal duty to be impartial. The law prohibits the “promotion of partisan political views” and says teachers “should take steps to ensure the balanced presentation of opposing views”. Partisan views are those which seek to “further the interests of a particular partisan group, change the law or change government policy”. This leads to some strange ideas about […]

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Opinion: It took a hoax and the hijacking of a school to embed Prevent in education

Dr Layla Aitlhadj, the director of Prevent Watch, argues in 5 Pillars that the hoax Trojan Horse Affair which turned the lives of Muslims in Birmingham upside down was rooted in a preconceived Prevent agenda. The Trojan Horse hoax (as it came to be known) relates to a letter that was anonymously sent to Birmingham City Council officials outlining a plot by “Islamists” to take over schools. The source of the letter and its real modus operandi should have been the subject of investigations, and then dismissed as most likely a malicious means of distracting from some dubious, localised problems at one school. Instead, the letter was taken up as “truth” by then Education Secretary Michael Gove, who then oversaw the decimation of Muslim achievements in Birmingham and ruination of the lives of Muslims, young and old. This happened despite Gove knowing weeks before appointing Peter Clarke to “investigate” the […]

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PROP: Trojan Horse hoax led to ‘abuses’ of children

The Middle East Eye’s Simon Hooper reports that the People’s Review of Prevent reveals that the extension of the Prevent programme into schools in the wake of the Trojan Horse Affair has led to children being targeted in ways that amount to abuses of their human rights. The People’s Review of Prevent also cited new evidence suggesting that the Home Office is continuing to rely on profiling of Muslim communities in allocating Prevent resources, with almost three-quarters of Muslims in England and Wales living in “priority areas”. The report describes Prevent as “ineffective, disproportionate, and discriminatory” against Muslims. It suggests that the strategy is undermining values that it purports to promote such as tolerance and free expression and says that it has been “overwhelmingly directed at children and young people where it represents an abuse of their rights”. It cites examples including an eight-year-old boy who it says was asked […]