Prevent Watch

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The New Arab: How Prevent impacts Muslims’ access to UK’s public health

22 June, 2022 – COVID-19 brought to light the widespread racial inequity in the UK’s public health sector, compounded by the poverty crisis, social housing issues, and the air pollution crisis. The past two years stressed the importance of access, trust, and care in public health services for racially minoritised communities in Britain that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. However, as long as Prevent exists in the NHS, these crucial cornerstones of healthcare will remain out of reach for the Muslim community. Source: How Prevent undermines Muslims’ access to UK’s public health

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PROP Expert View: The TIMES gets it all wrong on Prevent – here’s why

Times columnist, James Forsyth (‘Islamism is a greater threat than the far right’, June 16) seriously misrepresents the government’s Prevent strategy and its relation to counter-terrorism. He writes in anticipation of the publication of the much-delayed Shawcross Report, which makes his piece troubling. James Forsyth believes that the number of far right referrals is disproportionate to the risk when compared with those who have committed terrorist offences. This is factually incorrect; in 2021, out of 186 actual terrorism arrests, over 40% were related to suspected right-wing terrorism. Despite the statistics of actual terror offences showing a problem of far-right in terms of actual suspected offences, Prevent still focuses on Muslims. Source: The TIMES gets it all wrong on Prevent – here’s why

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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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BBC: Sara Khan says government’s counter-extremism strategy is ‘not fit for purpose’

3 June, 2022 – Speaking on the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast, Dame Sara Khan, a campaigner who has been accused in the past of being a mouthpiece for the Home Office, says Prevent should be “ideologically blind”. Khan also said the UK’s counter-extremism strategy, which is separate from the counter-terrorism scheme involving Prevent, was “completely outdated, it’s no longer fit for purpose”. Asked about Prevent, the former counter-extremism commissioner, who now advises the levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, on social cohesion, said: “Good policy has to be ideologically blind …”

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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

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Middle East Monitor: The UK will be complicit in rise of far-right terrorism if it adopts the Shawcross review

It was only a matter of time before a right-wing figure finally revealed the true depth of their agenda by deliberately drawing attention away from the extremists at their end of the political spectrum, writes Muhammad Hussein. That is exactly what William Shawcross, appointed by the British government to lead the review of the Prevent counter-terrorism programme, appears to have done. The extracts from the supposedly independent review, which was delivered to the Home Office in late April, make it a point to focus on that Islamic extremism and the mental health of all individuals referred to Prevent even if there is no actual evidence of extremism. Source: The UK will be complicit in the rise of far-right terrorism if it adopts the Shawcross review – Middle East Monitor

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Research Professional News: Prevent threatens the role of universities in the UK

The culture wars on higher education are hotting up and the aim is specifically now to free right-wing speech and to chill that of Muslim citizens and their legitimate organisations, writes Professor John Holmwood. The question that is about to be asked of universities is how far they are willing to go in defence of free speech. And to what extent will they oppose government plans for the certification of partners? This is a new authoritarianism, where the government presents itself as the protector of free speech while seeking to undermine the expression of opposition to its policies.   Source: In pursuit of Prevent – Research Professional News

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Police Professional: Does an MPs murder ring in the failure of Prevent?

While, in principle, few would disagree with the notion of trying to stop people being drawn towards terrorist ideas and action, in practice this means engaging with people through the lens of a counter terrorist programme before they have actually committed any terrorist act. It can feel like people are being seen through a criminal lens before any criminal act has actually taken place. The answer to dealing with the reality of extremist tendencies might lie in some fundamental changes to our society. It is unclear that Prevent will be able to address this, writes Raffaello Pantucci. Source: Police Professional | An MP’s murder: The failure of the Prevent programme?