Prevent Watch

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How a neo-conservative think tank defined British Muslims

In an exclusive extract from his new book The Fate of Abraham, award-winning MEE commentator Peter Oborne explains how Policy Exchange has helped to dismantle traditions of tolerance and multiculturalism in the UK, with Muslims its main target. In the wake of the calamity of the Iraq invasion of 2003, one might have supposed that the ideology which lay behind Tony Blair and George W Bush’s bloody misadventure would have been discredited. This has not happened. Neo-conservatism has continued to set the parameters for a great deal of policy discourse, and its supporters have continued to occupy many of the most prominent positions in British (and American) public life. There are a number of reasons for this resilience. In the UK, Policy Exchange, a London-based think tank, is one organisation which kept the neo-conservative flame burning. Though its public profile is small, it has exerted prodigious influence in political circles. […]

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New report on think tanks in the UK reveals right-wing links

  A new report entitled The Henry Jackson Society: The Threat to British Democracy Caused by Security Think Tanks explores the impact that security think tanks are having on societal cohesion in the UK. Authored by authored by Richard McNiel-Wilson (European University Institute), Rob Faure Walker (University College London) and Isobel Ingham-Barrow (University of Exeter), the report highlights links between such groups and the British and international far Right. In doing so, they combine with patterns of divisive and agenda-driven reports based in impoverished methodologies to shape UK policy and political discourse for the worse. Such groups have caused concern amongst numerous equalities, community, and faith groups and are cited as enabling and encouraging Islamophobia and racism, facilitating far-Right mobilisation, and pushing successive UK governments towards policy positions that damage societal cohesion. Source: The_Threat_to_British-Democracy.pdf

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Iqra Primary School in Clapham holds pro Prevent meeting

A Muslim primary school in South London has hosted an event which provided a platform for proponents of the government’s controversial Prevent strategy, including a speaker who previously worked at the “Islamophobic” think tank the Henry Jackson Society. Iqra Primary School in Clapham held the event last night which they promoted as a “Community Question Time on Prevent/Islamophobia.” The meeting, which was organised by Faiths Together in Lambeth, was open to parents, carers and community members. Around 40 people attended. The school’s headteacher, Humaira Saleem, hosted the event but all the speakers were representatives from the controversial state-run Prevent programme which has been accused of demonising Muslims and gagging freedom of speech. Read more

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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 […]