The Prevent strategy of the UK’s counter-extremism policy is out of step with the realities of British society, and its placing of religious communities of belonging under suspicion is counter-productive
The People's Review of Prevent
The People’s Review of Prevent is an alternative review to the Government Shawcross Review.
This review provides a voice to the people most impacted by the Prevent Duty.
Prevent is described as ‘safeguarding’ children from harms. However, under Prevent, safeguarding is focused on protecting the wider public from children believed to be ‘risky’, rather than protecting children from harms.
Throughout our report we present case studies that show how real these harms can be and the distress they cause to children and their families and carers.
Communities Secretary Michael Gove and the Independent reviewer of the Prevent strategy William Shawcross addressed a profit-making pro-Prevent lobbying group, with mysterious funding, the Byline Times has revealed.
The National Association of Muslim Police is now publicly calling for an update of policing and counter terrorism terminology, with the term Islamist to be replaced by ‘anti-western extremism’ or something similar. It has also raised concerns about the disproportionate number of Muslims being referred to Prevent, the government’s counter extremism programme – with the West Midlands among the highest. Alex Gent, Chairman of the NAMP says Islamophobia remains an issue in wider UK policing. The group cited cases where Muslim officers had been referred to Prevent wrongly by their own colleagues after religious pilgrimages or following acceptance of Islam. The group says it has previously raised concerns over the use of ‘Islamist’ and ‘Islamism’ with police chiefs and politicians, including with former Home Secretary Priti Patel. But it has now gone public after no agreement to drop the words. Source: Muslim cops label counter terrorism policing ‘Islamophobic’ – Birmingham
After counter-terrorism police finally concluded that a firebomb attack on a migrant centre in Dover last week was the latest in far-right terrorist attacks in the UK, crucial questions arise about the coverage of it and the reaction from government, says Miqdaad Varsi, director for media monitoring at the Muslim Council of Britain. The day after the bomb, the home secretary appeared to go out of her way to say that the attack was not being treated as terrorism. This is despite the fact that the perpetrator had tweeted that he planned to “obliterate Muslim children” an hour before his attack. The attacker referenced Tommy Robinson, repeatedly wrote about Muslim “grooming gangs” and shared content from far-right Islamophobic groups. Despite all this, there have been no column inches from counter-terrorism ideologues and most national newspapers didn’t give the attack front-page prominence the next day. Source: Britain had a far-right terrorist
Pro-Prevent lobby groups are currently arguing that the focus of Prevent should be redirected toward Islamism and away from the far-right, but is this just an excuse to play down their far-right agenda? The argument that Prevent is ‘failing’ and that it needs to refocus on so-called ‘Islamist extremism’ should be viewed in light of the ostensible justification of the ‘British values’ underlying Prevent. When ‘British values’ are linked to ‘national security’ The need to teach ‘British values’ as conceived by the government, frames the implementation of the Prevent pre-crime programme in schools. These values – on paper – are democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different religious faiths and beliefs. Their designation as ‘British’ is, of course, problematic. It implies that these ‘British values’ must be inculcated in ethnic minority citizens, yet we have seen that the claim is that most British Muslims share
Reappointed communities secretary Michael Gove opposes settling on a definition of Islamophobia, claiming it would bring ‘dangers’. The Independent’s home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden writes on Twitter that “Gove said he wanted to target “political Islam”, which he called a “virus”. He claimed there was “resistance in Whitehall”. Source: Government drops work towards official Islamophobia definition promised to combat anti-Muslim hatred in 2019 | The Independent
More than 1,000 BAME young men who were on a controversial Met police list even though they were classed as posing little or no risk of violence, have been removed. Current Metropolitan Police chief Mark Rowley said the list of alleged gang members “amplified disproportionality” and must be radically reformed. The gang violence matrix was branded part of a “racialised war” on gangs by Amnesty International and was found potentially to be breaching data laws by the information commissioner and placed men on it who should not have been there. Those on it could be subject to “Al Capone-style” disruption tactics, such as losing housing, or driving licences, as part of “lawful harassment”. Source: Met police chief to reform list of alleged gang members targeting black men | Metropolitan police | The Guardian
Blackburn with Darwen Council has been given more than half a million pounds to continue its work with Prevent. “Lancashire is a priority area nationally,” said the borough’s public health and prevention head Damian Talbot. Although in 2019, the Home Office assessed that Blackburn with Darwen was no longer a priority area, the borough will still oversee the delivery of Prevent for Lancashire. Source: Blackburn with Darwen gets £600,000 for Prevent terrorism programme | Lancashire Telegraph
David Cameron’s ‘muscular liberalism’ has done away with multiculturalism and constructed a notion of ‘British values’ that scapegoats ethnic minorities by presuming they share none of these values. Prof. John Holmwood argues in this article for the Islamic Human Rights Commission that 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
Writing on the recent Leicester violence, Dr. Chris Allen writes for the Community Policy Forum that tensions between some of the city’s Hindus and Muslims have been deteriorating and have been exacerbated a decade of austerity measures and cuts to local services. Allen also notes that: concerns were present within the city since at least 2019, so the city’s leadership has not been ‘unwarned’. the Home Secretary Suella Braverman visited Leicestershire Police on 22 September and called on the police to do their job “without fear or favour”. simultaneously, Conservative MP Bob Blackman sent a letter to Braverman blaming the disturbances on “Islamic extremists”, but he is a long-time supporter of the BJP in India. Source: Leicester Disturbances Between Hindus and Muslims: An Explainer – Community Policy Forum