Prevent Watch

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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

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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Many writers and activists have withdrawn from the Bradford literature festival (BLF), after it was revealed that the festival received funding from a form of the Government’s Counter-Extremism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

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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

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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

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Was the Jewish-Muslim ‘chicken soup challenge’ cooked up by UK’s Home Office? #Religion

Last Sunday, the East London Mosque hosted an event called “Chicken Soup Challenge”, in which members of Jewish and Muslim community groups came together to cook chicken soup for the homeless. Jews and Muslims from youth groups, mosques and synagogues attempted to cook a thousand portions of the traditional Jewish dish as part of a programme organised by Mitzvah Day, a charity that promotes a day of social action led by the Jewish community. But the Chicken Soup Challenge was also backed by the UK Home Office, through a programme that provides funding and support for counter-extremism projects, a detail that went unmentioned in reports produced by BBC News and The Guardian. Read more

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The Quran Case: Prevent Crossing the Red Line

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” overlay_color=”” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” padding_top=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” padding_right=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” center_content=”no” last=”no” min_height=”” hover_type=”none” link=””][fusion_youtube id=”https://youtu.be/h2h01Gp9gSg” alignment=”center” width=”” height=”” autoplay=”false” api_params=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” /][fusion_text] Sector: Education Region: Greater London Gender: Male Adam was about to start his summer holidays… Adam* is 8 years old. It was the last day of school and Adam’s mother went to pick him up as she normally would. When she arrived at the school, she was met by a teacher who informed her that two Police Officers and a Social Worker had questioned Adam earlier that day. Adam’s mother was shocked as there had never been any concerns about Adam […]

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Pressure on British Muslim parents to counter extremism is damaging

Pressure on British Muslim parents to counter extremism in their own families is having a detrimental effect, according to new research by Manchester academic Madeline-Sophie Abbas. Young Muslims have come under intense public scrutiny due to their perceived vulnerability to radicalisation. The Prevent counter-terrorism strategy has placed increased responsibility on parents to police their children, including removing their passports if suspected of travelling to join IS. Read more