Prevent Watch

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If we want students to feel safe at school, we can’t encourage teachers to spot potential extremist

In the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair told a global education forum extremism should be treated as a global problem like climate change. He said: there should be an international agreement to put teaching against extremism into education systems around the world. Following terrorist attacks, it’s understandable politicians want to come up with quick, tangible measures to prevent other incidents and to tackle the problem at what is seen to be its core. There is merit in Blair saying challenging prejudice “needs to begin at an early age” (in schools). But we must also be cautious when promoting kneejerk responses to complex issues, particularly when it involves the welfare and future of children. Read more

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Index on Censorship report on free speech on campuses erases the Muslim experience

The Index on Censorship report into freedom of expression at universities ignores the experience of Muslims, who are facing the brunt of institutional policies to quell their right to free speech, in what amounts to a total erasure of their voice and experiences on campuses. The report arrives at some agreeable conclusions, and takes into consideration the impact of PREVENT on freedom of expression, however it frames Muslim students as either actors in denying free speech to others, or as nameless victims who have no voice. Read more

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Government’s counterterrorism is limiting texts and topics students can access, experts say

A counterterrorism strategy has created a “culture of fear” across UK universitieswhere freedom of expression and open debate is being stifled, experts and campaigners warn. The government’s Prevent duty, which requires institutions to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”, is having a “chilling effect” on free speech on campus, critics say. Read more