Prevent Watch

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Prevent ‘reform’ is the latest Tory gift to the Far-Right – Tribune

23 May, 2022 – The leaks of the government-commissioned review of the Prevent strategy demonstrate what is the latest Tory gift to the far-right: the threat of neo-nazism is set to be downgraded despite mounting evidence to the contrary, while social justice campaigns will be targeted. This reveals the extent to which extremist views are being brought into the mainstream. The recent deadly and racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York is a clear indication that the ideology ‘the great replacement theory’ which says that ‘foreigners are a demographic threat’ is gaining traction among white supremacist groups. A lot of attention has been cast on US news presenter Tucker Carlson and Fox News as spreading this rhetoric in the US, but less attention is being placed on its proponents in Britain. One prominent voice is the independent reviewer of Prevent, Sir William Shawcross, who has repeatedly made dangerous […]

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Prevent review ‘does not reflect reality’ and must keep focus on far right, say experts – The Guardian

22 May, 2022 – Government advisers on extremism have openly questioned the direction of the Home Office’s counter-terrorism programme after it emerged last week that a review was advocating a crackdown on Islamist extremism rather than the threat of the far right. They questioned why the review of the Prevent strategy carried out by William Shawcross at the behest of the home secretary, Priti Patel, should refocus on Islamism at a time when Prevent referrals over the ideology have fallen to 22%, while a quarter now relate to far-right extremism. The most recent Prevent data reveals that “mixed, unstable or unclear” ideologies now account for more than half of all referrals to the anti-radicalisation strategy and that a quarter relate to far-right extremism. Lewys Brace, who advises the government on extremism, said the Shawcross recommendations did not “reflect what’s going on at all, in any way. Mixed ideologies is where […]

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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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Elite Chinese police college drew on UK’s Prevent strategy for Uyghur policy – Middle East Eye

17 May, 2022 – A new report has found that the London Policing College (LPC) has declared partnerships with eight universities in China, at least some of which have ties to policing in Xinjiang, where Muslim minorities have faced brutal treatment. LPC is a private UK company that provides police training internationally and receives UK taxpayer money for some of its work. Among the institutions highlighted in Tuesday’s report, compiled by the rights group Freedom from Torture, was the Beijing-based People’s Public Security University of China (PPSUC), the country’s elite policing university, which the report says focuses heavily on counter-terrorism training and learning about the UK’s own Prevent strategy. Source: Elite Chinese police college drew on UK’s Prevent strategy for Uyghur policy | Middle East Eye

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‘Great Replacement Theory’ has now inspired four mass shootings – Newsweek

The racist conspiracy theory that claims whites are being replaced by people of colour has motivated another mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead. The killing is being prosecuted as a ‘hate crime’. A 180-page manifesto, purportedly authored by the shooter, said the attack was motivated by the “Great Replacement Theory”— a Newsweek article tracks the most recent racist and Islamophobic killings that were motivated by this theory. Source: ‘Great Replacement Theory’ Has Inspired 4 Mass Shootings in Recent Years

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UK’s charity regulator urged to investigate Policy Exchange over ‘anti-Muslim agenda’

Simon Hooper reports for Middle East Eye on a complaint to the Charity Commission, which calls for the think tank Policy Exchange to lose its charitable status. The UK’s charities regulator is being urged to investigate the Policy Exchange think tank for alleged racism and Islamophobia, over a report in which it accused Muslim critics of the government’s Prevent strategy of “enabling terrorism”. In a letter to the Charity Commission, the authors of a critical review of the UK government’s controversial counterterrorism strategy, the People’s Review of Prevent, called on the government to review the think tank’s charitable status, accusing it of “promoting vilification and even hatred” towards Muslim communities. “As a charity, Policy Exchange must remain non-partisan and be detached from government. Yet it would appear Policy Exchange is neither, acting primarily as a vehicle for political propaganda and anti-Muslim narratives,” said Layla Aitlhadj, a director at 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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David Cameron endorses report tied to man he called ‘Muslim no-go zone’ “idiot” and ‘neo-Nazi’

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Byline Times that the former Prime Minister has put his support behind a new Policy Exchange report targeting Muslim civil society groups as ringleaders in the ‘enabling’ of terrorism. A new report claiming that critics of counter-terrorism policy are “enabling terrorism” is closely connected to a ‘white genocide’ believer who worked for a far-right conspiracy theorist whom former Prime Minister David Cameron called an “idiot” for describing Birmingham as a ‘Muslim no go zone’. The report by the Policy Exchange think tank is also linked to a coalition of European far-right parties, including the Sweden Democrats – a party with “neo-Nazi tendencies”, according to the current Israeli Ambassador to the UK. Its publication reveals how far-right ideologues are successfully attempting to use influential centre-right think tanks to mainstream their worldviews through the language of national security and counter-extremism. Delegitimising Counter-Terrorism: The Activist Campaign to Demonise Prevent […]

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Policy Exchange report is submitted to the UN as evidence of Islamophobia and racism

The People’s Review of Prevent today submitted the Policy Exchange report, entitled Delegitimising Counter-Terrorism, as further evidence to the UN of sustained and structural discrimination against British Muslim civil society.  The report is a weak attempt to shutdown the wave of criticism that will follow the long overdue Shawcross-led government review into Prevent, which was boycotted due to its lack of independence and integrity. Policy Exchange makes the shocking claim that Muslim critics of the failing counter-extremism policy are ‘enabling terrorism’. The report offers little in terms of research or academic criticism but presents a series of attacks only Muslim civil society organisations and individuals who are critical of the government’s toxic Prevent programme and its impact on Muslims and wider society. Source: Press Release – The People Review of Prevent

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New report seeks to answer if PREVENT is compatible with Islamic principles of due process

What is the Islāmic view of PREVENT? In other words, is PREVENT compatible with Islam? This is a question that makes perfect sense to ask once raised and one that a new report seeks to answer. Since its inception in 2003, there has been little discussion on the validity of PREVENT and interaction with it from an Islāmic perspective. This is a curious omission, given that PREVENT has been imposed on Muslims for nearly two decades now. Instead of a critical engagement with PREVENT as a policy, Muslims, and especially Islāmic scholars, have been used by PREVENT and “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) programs more broadly, as tools to implement pre-crime counter-extremism. In fact, scholars have even tried to give PREVENT and CVE legitimacy through a questionable application of theology. Our report, ‘PREVENT, CVE, and Pre-crime – Through an Islāmic Lens,’ subjects PREVENT to Islām. It seeks to understand the political […]