Prevent Watch

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Middle East Eye: UK Home Office challenged over independence of Prevent review

The UK’s Home Office is facing fresh questions over the credibility and lawfulness of a long-delayed review of its contentious Prevent counter-terrorism strategy after being challenged by a human rights advocacy group over the independence of the process.

Rights and Security International (RSI) said on Monday it had written to the Home Office to raise its concerns that the department may have “interfered significantly” in a draft report by reviewer William Shawcross.

Caroline Ott, a solicitor at Leigh Day that is representing RSI, said: “Our client has raised serious concerns about the lawfulness of the ongoing independent review of Prevent and considers that the nature of the interactions between the Home Secretary and the independent reviewer may compromise the review’s ‘independence’.”

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The Guardian: Government refuses to disclose whether Prevent strategy will be redacted

No 10 has refused to say if its review of the Prevent strategy will be redacted, amid reports it has been delayed by a row between Michael Gove and the Home Office over whether to reveal the names of suspected “Islamist” extremists. The Prevent review was handed over to the Home Office by William Shawcross, a former head of the Charity Commission, in the summer. Draft extracts leaked to the Guardian in May revealed it controversially argued the government has been too focused on rightwing extremism and should now crack down on Islamist extremism. However, it has not been published yet. According to the Times, Whitehall sources said Gove was increasingly trying to get involved because of his joint responsibility for Prevent’s operation on the ground. Asked when the review would be published, Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said it was “right to take time to prepare and deliver a considered response”. […]

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The Prevent policy in the UK’s love-hate with the far-right

The claim to target the far-right was a red herring to bring Muslims on board with the Prevent policy in the UK. Now, the government is saying that to target the far-right would be to police “mainstream” views shared by many in government. What is going on? We discussed this with Surviving Society as part of their Legacies of the War on Terror podcast series. Our podcast included why the long-delayed William Shawcross Review of Prevent will recommend more focus on the Muslim community, despite recommendations from counter terrorism experts to keep focus on the “far-right” and “incels”. We also talked about some of the the far-right cases that we have seen at Prevent Watch among children, and how they could have been dealt with differently, avoiding trauma to children and families. The positioning of the far-right as part of “defending British values” is quite clearly supported by people like […]

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The latest Prevent Review is a political charade, we must boycott it

The UK government’s latest review of its Prevent strategy is not only a political facade but a trojan horse to expand the programme. We must be united in our call for disengagement from it, and to demand nothing less than Prevent’s abolishment, argues Na’eem Ibn Farooq. UK communities targeted by the Government’s Prevent counter-terrorism strategy have expressed dismay at its latest proposed ‘review’. It is not hard to see why. This ‘review’ is an expensive and wasteful exercise, a piece of political theatre. Indeed, previous ‘reviews’ and revisions have been little more than vehicles for bolstering Prevent’s arsenal of tactics, thus serving to extend and deepen the policy’s reach and harm. Since 2006, when it was first promoted as a deradicalisation ‘fund’, the Prevent strategy has undergone several mutations, all consistently aimed at criminalising Muslims and disrupting dissent. Rather than genuinely keeping us safe, Prevent’s core function is to effectively […]