Prevent Watch

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IHRC: Prevent is putting religious intolerance at the heart of policy

Prof. John Holmwood argues that David Cameron’s ‘muscular liberalism’ as done away with multiculturalism and constructed a notion of ‘British values’ that scapegoats ethnic minorities by presuming they share none of these values. This has huge implications for education, since it has been injected into schools via the academies (and free schools) programme which removed schools from local authority control and which was actively promoted by Policy Exchange and pursued by Michael Gove. The requirement to promote ‘fundamental British values’ that is part of Prevent is incorporated under Section 78 of the Education Act 2002, which means that the moral and spiritual development of children is now subordinated to a national security agenda. Source: The British Government’s Prevent strategy: Putting religious intolerance at the heart of policy – IHRC

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The PROP Expert View: How Prevent impacts your beliefs and your mosque

Two crucial takeaways from the podcast between Prevent Watch’s Dr Layla Aitlhadj and Dilly Hussain from 5 Pillars that you may have missed: Prevent is a psychological control policy that is about placing its target group – in our case, Muslims – in a disempowered, apologetic position as a default, and it is counter-productive to the proper functioning of our mosques. It is there to stop people from expressing our perfectly legal and non-violent beliefs fully and freely, and to regulate Islamic learning. But Muslims need to protect their beliefs and their mosques, for more than just the sake of social activism. Because when you take on the Prevent “attitude”, you distance yourself from your Islamic identity and your beliefs can begin to change. Source: How Prevent impacts islamic beliefs and mosques – The People Review of Prevent

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CAGE Survey: Ukraine vs Palestine solidarity in UK schools

In a survey based on over 500 responses, CAGE exposes the hypocrisy of the British government in its support for Ukraine, while silencing advocacy on Palestine. While the British public has been treated to an outpouring of support for Ukraine and Ukrainians, along with occasionally bizarre spectacles – such as Tory leader-elect Liz Truss declaring her support for Britons going to fight Russia live on TV – during Israel’s 2021 attack on Gaza, under Prevent, schools securitised support for Palestine, advocating restraint and reporting. In the CAGE report, 96% of survey responses confirmed support for Ukraine by their schools, 62% indicated their schools had fundraised for Ukraine, and a small number of schools raised funds to donate military equipment, and/or to donate to organisations linked to the Ukrainian far-right. See the full report here.

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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: Rishi Sunak’s Prevent proposals are truly Orwellian

Rishi Sunak’s announcement that he would use Prevent – the government’s counter-extremism strategy – against those who “vilified” Britain has attracted much derision. But Liz Truss’ response was interesting. She thought it was all a bit “thin” and a restatement of what was already government policy. She is right. For those who think this is a sign of worrying authoritarianism to come, it is a wake-up call about what is already in place. The issue is not to seek an “equal opportunities” Prevent – one applied to the right-wing as well as to supposed “Islamists” – but to understand how Prevent undermines the rights of everyone. It is also important to understand how Prevent (and wider counter-terrorism legislation) generates a moral panic about children and young people. Source: UK: Rishi Sunak’s Prevent proposals are truly Orwellian | Middle East Eye

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5Pillars: How Prevent targets Muslim school children

In this eye-opening episode of the Blood Brothers Podcast, Dilly Hussain speaks with the director of advocacy group Prevent Watch, Dr Laila Aitlhadj, about the UK government’s controversial counterterrorism ‘Prevent’ strategy. Topics include what Prevent is supposed to do and what it is actually doing, in particular to young people. The podcast also covers its effect on adults employed in the public services and makes particular mention of why it is incompatible with Islamic values, and its effect on Muslim belief. Source: Blood Brothers #84: Prevent and the UK Government’s targeting of Muslim school children – 5Pillars

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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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Al Jazeera podcast: The duel to hold Prevent to account in the UK

After years in operation, the government will release an independent review of Prevent – but it has been boycotted by hundreds of organizations. Instead, many participated in a People’s Review of Prevent. So what does a tale of two reviews tell us about the future of Prevent? Listen to this exclusive Al Jazeera podcast featuring Layla Aitlhadj, Director of Prevent Watch and Professor John Holmwood, author of the book “Countering Extremism in British Schools?: The Truth about the Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair”.   Source: In the UK, a duel to hold ‘Prevent’ to account | Human Rights News | Al Jazeera