Prevent Watch

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Middle East Eye: Rishi Sunak’s Prevent proposals are truly Orwellian

Rishi Sunak’s announcement that he would use Prevent – the government’s counter-extremism strategy – against those who “vilified” Britain has attracted much derision. But Liz Truss’ response was interesting. She thought it was all a bit “thin” and a restatement of what was already government policy. She is right. For those who think this is a sign of worrying authoritarianism to come, it is a wake-up call about what is already in place. The issue is not to seek an “equal opportunities” Prevent – one applied to the right-wing as well as to supposed “Islamists” – but to understand how Prevent undermines the rights of everyone. It is also important to understand how Prevent (and wider counter-terrorism legislation) generates a moral panic about children and young people. Source: UK: Rishi Sunak’s Prevent proposals are truly Orwellian | Middle East Eye

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The PROP Expert View: What’s Sunak’s stats really show us

Sunak’s proposals to classify anyone who “vilifies” Britain as an “extremist” betray an ignorance regarding how counter-extremism harms innocent people. But a closer look at the stats reveal deeper truths. Statistics for the past year up to March this year from the Home Office state that of the 196 arrests for terrorist-related activity, 55 (28%) were subsequently charged for terrorism-related offences. Moreover, the number of white people arrested for terrorist activity increased from last year, and are four times higher than Asian people. So, when Sunak asserts that “80% of live counter terror investigations” are of “Islamists”, what we should be asking is: why are 80% of the terrorism investigations centred on Muslims when arrests of presumably British white people are four times higher? Source: Surely this is the last desperate attempt to revive prevent? – The People Review of Prevent

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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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The Guardian: Former counter-terrorism police chief attacks Sunak’s Prevent plans

Rishi Sunak’s proposals to strengthen the government’s anti-terrorism programme risk “straying into thought crimes” and are potentially damaging to national security, a former senior police chief has said. Such proposals would lead to more people being referred to Prevent by widening the definition of “extremism” to include those who “vilify” Britain, with Sunak pledging to focus on “rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country”. But former counter-terrorism chief Sir Peter Fahy, who was also chief constable of Greater Manchester police, questioned the precise meaning of “vilification”. He said: “The widening of Prevent could damage its credibility and reputation. It makes it more about people’s thoughts and opinions.” Source: Former counter-terrorism police chief attacks Rishi Sunak’s Prevent plans | Rishi Sunak | The Guardian