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Expert View: How the UK Prevent strategy ‘adultifies’ young children

The UK Prevent strategy is contributing to undue moral panic and harming young people in the name of “counter-terrorism”, writes Prof John Holmwood, co-author of the People’s Review of Prevent. Here’s a summary of his original piece which appeared in the Middle East Eye. The cases of Child Q and other children have cast a light on the “adultification” of Black children, but this approach also features in the UK Prevent strategy, Britain’s counter-extremism tool, although in this case it is applied to ethnic minority children generally. Under Prevent, children are regularly subjected to interviews by counter-terrorism police without a responsible adult being present. This is occurring to thousands of children each year. Yet they are not under suspicion of a terrorism offence, only of potentially coming under the influence of an extremist “ideology”. Children under 15 make up around a third of all referrals (there were 7,318 referrals in […]

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The Trojan Horse Affair: A hoax that still harms children

Ex-chair of Park View Educational Trust Tahir Mahmood Khan, writes for Al Jazeera that the Trojan Horse Affair hoax served to legitimise, legalise, and institutionalise a discriminatory culture against Muslim children. In 2014, sensationalist headlines circulated in the United Kingdom about an alleged Muslim plot to take over schools. The so-called “Trojan Horse” involved “extremists” infiltrating Birmingham to “sow terrorism” in young minds. As the then chair of the Park View Educational Trust, which ran three of the schools in question, I suddenly found myself in the centre of a media storm, subjected to a multitude of government inspections and inquiries looking into alleged improprieties. It was a classic moral panic. Subsequently, all of our schools were deemed failures, despite having been ranked as outstanding before. They were placed under “special measures”, which created the possibility of removing senior leadership in the accused institutions. Of course, we rejected the supposed […]

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Meeting told how Trojan Horse Affair has ‘left a scar’ in Birmingham

The Birmingham Mail reports that although not one MP accepted an invitation to a panel discussion on the fallout of Trojan Horse Affair, the event gave people a safe space to speak about the ‘scars’ it left. Birmingham’s Trojan Horse affair is ‘not over for us’, with its impact still reverberating through Muslim communities. That was the standout message at a panel discussion into the issue organised by city mosques. Around 100 Brummies, mostly Muslim, attended the event at the University of Birmingham as part of the ‘Under the Lens’ series of talks examining social issues, organised by mosques across the region. This event was coordinated by the university’s Islamic Society and Chaplaincy. Despite the organisers’ best efforts, none of the city’s MPs or councilors accepted an invitation to take part. But that gave panelists the opportunity to air their opinions in what had become by default a safe space […]

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Trojan Horse Affair: How hoax led to ‘abuses’ of children

The Middle East Eye’s Simon Hooper reports that the People’s Review of Prevent reveals that the extension of the Prevent programme into schools in the wake of the Trojan Horse Affair has led to children being targeted in ways that amount to abuses of their human rights. The People’s Review of Prevent also cited new evidence suggesting that the Home Office is continuing to rely on profiling of Muslim communities in allocating Prevent resources, with almost three-quarters of Muslims in England and Wales living in “priority areas”. The report describes Prevent as “ineffective, disproportionate, and discriminatory” against Muslims. It suggests that the strategy is undermining values that it purports to promote such as tolerance and free expression and says that it has been “overwhelmingly directed at children and young people where it represents an abuse of their rights”. It cites examples including an eight-year-old boy who it says was asked […]