Prevent Watch

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The Independent: Government drops work towards official Islamophobia definition

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

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The Guardian: Over 1000 BAME names removed from ‘disproportionate’ police list

More than 1,000 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

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The Guardian: British Muslims’ citizenship reduced to ‘second-class’ status, says thinktank

British Muslims have had their citizenship reduced to “second-class” status as a result of recently extended powers to strip people of their nationality, a thinktank has claimed. The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) says the targets of such powers are almost exclusively Muslims, mostly of south Asian heritage, embedding discrimination and creating a lesser form of citizenship. Frances Webber, IRR vice-chair and report author, wrote: “While a ‘native’ British citizen, who has access to no other citizenship, can commit the most heinous crimes without jeopardising his right to remain British, none of the estimated 6 million British citizens with access to another citizenship can feel confident in the perpetual nature of their citizenship.” The IRR’s report was published on Sunday. Source: British Muslims’ citizenship reduced to ‘second-class’ status, says thinktank | Islam | The Guardian

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The Guardian: Sunak is wrong – and he’s chosen the wrong target

The contender’s plan is idiotic and dangerous. Aren’t Tories supposed to champion free speech, says Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain. The implication of his proposals seems to be that any public sector worker covered by the Prevent duty would be required to refer anyone they believe is “vilifying” to the authorities. Would this include nationalists in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, some of whom would readily vilify England? If not, why not? What about writers within our mainstream media, in publications such as the Spectator? Would Sunak’s policy include those who have non-mainstream political views on our nation’s colonial history? Source: Sunak wants to punish those who ‘vilify the UK’. That’s wrong – and he’s chosen the wrong target | Miqdaad Versi | The Guardian

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EachOther: Is Prevent Compatible with Human Rights Law?

The many criticisms of Prevent include the lack of a peer-reviewed evidence base; the lack of an operable definition of extremism; inadequate training; a high number of ‘false-positives’; and the policy being structurally racist and Islamophobic. Critics of Prevent include Liberty, the Open Society Foundations, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the National Union of Teachers, Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester) and over a hundred academics. Prevent conflicts with the Human Rights Act (HRA) and the Equalities Act, writes Shazad Amin, Deputy Chair of MEND. Source: Is The Prevent Programme Compatible With Human Rights? | EachOther

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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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‘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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Newly released list of Prevent Priority Areas proves the policy targets Muslims

By injecting funds into the oppressive Prevent programme in areas with high concentrations of Muslims, the government can no longer claim that it is unbiased against Islam, says Prevent Watch’s Dr Layla Aitladj in Islam 21C. The People’s Review of Prevent reveals for the first time hard evidence that Prevent is Islamophobic and discriminatory. Amongst the evidence which contributed to this conclusion, was our discovery of the locations of “Prevent Priority Areas” or PPAs, which have been in existence since 2007. PPAs are areas of England and Wales in which the delivery of the Prevent Strategy has been designated as a priority. They do not exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Since 2011, information concerning PPAs has remained a secret. The last known disclosure of the areas was from the Prevent Strategy guidance document. Since then, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests asking for disclosure of the PPA’s were repeatedly denied […]

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College accused of ‘everyday racism’ after sacking lecturer

The new Universities and College Union general secretary has accused the leadership at Sandwell College of “everyday racism” after it sacked lecturer Dave Muritu. In an interview with FE Week, Dr Jo Grady said there is “everyday racism in colleges”, and that “we have seen that just this week with someone being dismissed at Sandwell”. Muritu was fired by the college last week for writing the word “racist” on a poster promoting the Prevent strategy. Despite admitting to drawing on the poster and apologising for his actions, the lecturer was dismissed for gross misconduct on the grounds of “serious damage to college property”, “bringing the college into disrepute” and “use of inappropriate language”. Read more

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Shocked by the rise of the right? Then you weren’t paying attention

The morning after both Donald Trump’s victory and the Brexit referendum, when a mood of paralysing shock and grief overcame progressives and liberals on both sides of the Atlantic, the two most common refrains I heard were: “I don’t recognise my country any more,” and “I feel like I’ve woken up in a different country.” This period of collective disorientation was promptly joined by oppositional activity, if not activism. People who had never marched before took to the streets; those who had not donated before gave; people who had not been paying attention became engaged. Many continue. Almost three years later the Brexit party, led by Nigel Farage, is predicted to top the poll in European parliament elections in which the far right will make significant advances across the continent; Theresa May’s imminent downfall could hand the premiership to Boris Johnson; Trump’s re-election in 2020 is a distinct possibility, with […]