Prevent Watch

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The New Statesman: Britain needs a new paradigm approach to extremism

Attacks by individuals like Jake Davidson, the 22-year-old man who shot dead five people in Plymouth last year, before turning the gun on himself, prove that the greatest emerging threat is not Islamist, but in a rapidly expanding set of so-called mixed, unclear and unstable (MUU) extremism cases that defy neat categorisation by authorities. A large element of this rapid growth has seen Prevent referrals inheriting much of the case load of young people with “complex needs” from underfunded local services. Data from 2021 suggests up to 70 per cent of people referred to Prevent may have mental health issues, and growing numbers of MUU referrals suggest practitioners are struggling to classify these cases within frameworks built to handle clear-cut ideological categories. Events like those in Plymouth speak to a more disparate set of extremism-related threats than the current government approach can capture. They require a new paradigm of response. […]

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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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Middle East Eye: Tory leadership race shatters hopes for a more tolerant Conservative Party

While the UK’s governing party appears to be celebrating ethnic diversity, it continues to attack religious liberty, write Imran Mulla and Peter Oborne. Tolerance, rightly practised, extends beyond support for ethnic diversity. British multiculturalism, traditionally understood, has entailed the recognition of diverse religious communities – and today, it is under threat, and for British Muslims, the Conservative Party is a hostile force. Source: Tory leadership race shatters hopes for a more tolerant Conservative Party | Middle East Eye

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Tory Islamophobia is rampant and the party is in denial

The British Conservative Party has a problem with Islamophobia, yet there seems to be little movement on addressing it. In fact, if anything, it seems to be becoming more severe. A recent poll of party members conducted for the group Hope Not Hate found a remarkable degree of Islamophobia, with 67 percent stating that “there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law”, and 45 percent agreeing that “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”. In addition, 39 percent said they believed that “Islamist terrorists reflect a widespread hostility to Britain among the Muslim community”. The vast majority said they did not feel there was a problem with Islamophobia within the party, with three-quarters stating the party was “doing all it reasonably can” to combat Islamophobia and other forms of racism. Read more

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Populist surge sinks Tories and squeezes Labour as European elections loom

Tory heavyweights today demand an end to the “virus of extremism” that has divided the country and left the Conservative Party trailing in fourth place in two opinion polls for the European elections. The former prime minister Sir John Major and former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine issued last-ditch pleas for a return to the centre ground on the eve of Thursday’s elections, in which support for the two main parties has fallen to historic lows. Read more