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  1. #1
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    Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam (OP)


    Salaam

    Event: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Recent events from the Middle East have placed the Muslim community in Britain in the public eye once more with their every word and action coming under microscopic scrutiny by the media and politicians. This is only the latest chapter in an ideological attack that has been ongoing for significantly longer.

    Whereas the attacks on Islamic concepts of war, political governance and the unity of Muslim lands are nothing new, they have now increased on an unprecedented scale in the wake of the rise of ISIS and its declaration of a Caliphate. The matter is not about supporting or opposing the version of a Caliphate as demonstrated by ISIS but rather the criminalisation of Islamic political thought and ideology. The concepts of jihad, shariah and khilafah are not the exclusive possession of ISIS but core Islamic doctrines subscribed to by almost one third's of the world's population. It is telling that the government's treatment of ISIS is similar to its treatment of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb-ut Tahrir, and the Taliban, despite the enormous differences of belief and methodology between the groups.

    The Islamophobic nature of the criminalisation of those who believe in fighting in Syria against Assad is underlined by the lack of concern for British Jews who fight in the Israeli Occupation Forces, particularly at times where they are engaged in war crimes and other atrocities, such as the recent attack on Gaza.

    On the flips side, Muslims who wish to aid their brothers and sisters through the provision of humanitarian aid via aid convoys are having their homes raided, being harassed by the security services and are effectively being accused of engaging in terrorism. Charities are having their bank accounts closed without explanation and are coming under investigation by the Charity Commission simply for being involved in crisis zones like Gaza and Syria. Witch-hunts such as the Trojan Horse hoax and the mass hysteria over issues of the niqab, halal food and conservative Muslim values demonstrate that the criminalisation is spreading beyond Middle Eastern politics. Individuals and organisations within the Muslim community who have been speaking out against these policies are now under attack. They have had their organisation, business and bank accounts arbitrarily closed. Even their children's bank accounts have been closed. They are maligned in the media as terrorist sympathisers, extremists and jihadists. Some have even been imprisoned.

    The common element across all these cases is that those targeted cared for the oppressed and for those who are suffering. They have been criminalised because they cared.

    Join CAGE at this series of events around the country to unite the Muslim communities against this criminalisation of our faith, our beliefs, our mosques and organisations, and our leaders. The following regional events will take place with the large conference taking place on 20 September at the Waterlily in London.

    Sunday 14 September - 6pm

    Pakistani Community Centre, Park Hall, London Road, Reading RG1 2PA

    Jamal Harwood
    Dr Adnan Siddiqui
    Dr Uthman Lateef
    Anas al-Tikriti
    Taji Mustafa
    Wednesday 17 September - 7pm
    East Pearl Banqueting Centre, Longsight, Manchester
    Ibrahim Hewitt
    Abdullah Andalusi
    Jahangir Mohammed

    Friday 19 September - 6.30pm

    Muslim Student House (the Daar), Moseley, Birmingham

    Dr Uthman Lateef
    Ismail Adam Patel
    Abdullah Andalusi
    Dr Abdul Wahid
    Fahad Ansari

    http://www.cageuk.org/event/it-crime-care

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Junon View Post
    Salaam



    Whats wrong with that? We don't need the poison of feminism.



    Now now Karl, Being gay is so passé, you've got to keep up! We are soon going to be compelled to worship at the altar of transgenderism. They are the new PC protected class.
    Because maybe...just maybe... Its bad to judge people? Did that ever occur to you? We hate when they judge us but we judge other folk. Such a hypocritical bunch of humans we are
    1 | Likes AHMED PATEL liked this post

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Please spare me, Ive read and observed the effects feminism over the years to understand its 'negative' effects on society. Don't be naive.

    Anyway back to regular scheduling.


  5. #243
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update


    Trojan Horse affair: When government and media colluded to vilify the Muslim community
    #Racism

    With few exceptions, journalists failed to examine the underlying facts while repeating what turned out to be false allegations


    Another week, another apology.

    Two newspapers, The Sun and The Daily Telegraph, have retracted claims that there was a conspiracy to Islamicise schools in Oldham. The Sunday Times, which broke the story, has not done so - not yet, at any rate.

    The stories, written in February 2017, developed the theory that sinister Islamists are set on seizing control of British schools beyond Birmingham to the northwest of England.
    A culture of false reporting

    Significantly, the apologies come in the week in which Sayeeda Warsi, who resigned from the David Cameron government in August 2014 due to its inertia over Gaza, spearheaded a fightback against the culture of false reporting about Muslims.

    Speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Warsi complained that no mainstream politician has made a speech about anti-Muslim prejudice since she did in 2011. She also presented a ream of cases of newspaper misreporting. Warsi was critical, for example, of The Times' story last summer about the adoption of a Christian child by Muslim parents. She argued that such stories "poison the debate about the Muslim community" and have influenced the way politicians treat Islam.

    There was, importantly, one crucial omission from the Warsi dossier. So far there has been no investigation into the reporting of the original so-called Trojan Horse plot itself. I believe this is urgently needed. In March 2014, The Sunday Times reported that a group of Islamists had conspired to take control of schools in east Birmingham. The story led to several government investigations, the most important of which was carried out by Peter Clarke, former Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism chief, for the Department for Education. In addition there were snap Ofsted inspections of 21 schools and tribunals into the conduct of 15 teachers.

    More important still, the Trojan Horse affair has had a powerful effect on British government counter-extremism policy.

    No Trojan Horse conspiracy

    On the back of the Trojan Horse affair, in November 2014 the Department for Education announced that Ofsted would now censure schools for failing to "actively promote" what it calls "fundamental British values". In 2015 the government cited Clarke's report as evidence of extremism in its new, emboldened counter-extremism strategy. In February that year it became a statutory duty for public bodies, including schools, to implement the Prevent policy by referring individuals deemed at risk of radicalisation to the authorities. Yet there is mounting evidence that there never was a Trojan Horse conspiracy in Birmingham. After strong rebuttals and revelations that the Department for Education's lawyers had withheld evidence, all but one of the tribunal cases collapsed.

    Many of the allegations made against the schools turned out to be unfounded. The Trojan Horse affair also forms the background to the latest row about hijabs in east London. Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman referenced the Birmingham case in all but name in her ill-judged intervention earlier this month. I am certain that over time the story of the takeover of Birmingham schools will come to be seen as a gross abuse of natural justice and an attack on a vulnerable community.

    A fundamental misunderstanding

    For that reason I cannot recommend strongly enough Countering Extremism in British Schools? The Truth about the Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair the recently published book by sociologists John Holmwood and Therese O'Toole. It is an assiduous, impeccably researched account of the events that took place in Birmingham. It makes utterly devastating reading.

    And it is profoundly troubling in light of the official significance of the case. Holmwood and O'Toole dismantle Peter Clarke's report. They show that Clarke's findings were based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the law concerning religion in British schools. There is no such thing as a secular school in England. By providing opportunities for their almost all-Muslim pupils to practice their religion, the schools were merely performing their legal obligation. Holmwood and O'Toole note Clarke's failure to mention that the school at the centre of his accusations, Park View - now renamed Rockwood Academy - did not take over and influence other schools because of an Islamist conspiracy. It did so but because the Department for Education itself had suggested it did!

    And no wonder. Park View was an outstanding school in a deprived area. When it converted to an academy in 2012, the Department for Education pushed it to spread its practices elsewhere. Worse still, Clarke took claims reported to him at face value and denied the accused the opportunity to provide their own accounts. Because of this negligence the Department for Education’s lawyers were unable to use Clarke’s report as evidence in the misconduct tribunals.

    The Trojan Horse episode was set in motion when an anonymous letter arrived at the office of Albert Bore, the leader of Birmingham City Council, in November 2013. Even though it is widely thought to be a hoax, Clarke did not attempt to confirm or refute its authenticity.

    In this way, Holmwood and O’Toole explain, the Trojan Horse narrative was never dispelled.

    Holmwood and O'Toole methodically lay bare the inconsistency of Ofsted's behaviour. They show that – in reports that Ofsted has now removed from its website – Ofsted explicitly commended Park View for the very things that it would soon condemn it for: the behaviour and safety of its children and the leadership and management of the school.

    From 'outstanding' to 'inadequate'

    In January 2012 Ofsted declared Park View "outstanding" in all areas. On a visit to the school, then chief inspector Michael Wilshaw commented that "all schools should be like it". Its long-serving headteacher and chair of governors had transformed it from one of the worst schools in the country in the 1990s to one of the top 14 per cent.

    Despite no significant changes in staff, governors or results, Ofsted declared the school "inadequate" in March 2014. Holmwood and O'Toole note that the initial Ofsted report of Park View was written after the Trojan Horse allegations emerged. Just 11 days before inspectors would return for a second inspection to fail the school, they recommended reaffirming its outstanding rating.

    Holmwood and O'Toole ask whether pressure was put on inspectors by the senior management at Ofsted or the Department for Education. They also question the restoration of the school's Ofsted ratings - since the Trojan Horse affair - while under new, non-Muslim management, despite a collapse in results.

    Importantly, they discuss the climate of media coverage that surrounded inspections in the spring of 2014. In the months that followed the revelation of the Trojan Horse letter, the media – including the Daily Mail, for whom I write a regular political column – reported scores of stories of Muslim intolerance: of children being taught that Western women were "white prostitutes"; and of non-Muslims being referred to as "kaffirs", for example.

    False narrative


    With few exceptions, journalists failed to examine the underlying facts while repeating what turned out to be false allegations. Holmwood and O'Toole describe these reports as an instance of "moral panic... where a scapegoating of marginalised groups in the context of a public anxiety is amplified by the press". This all raises very serious questions – about truth, the strength of British democracy and the rights of its citizens.

    When I spoke to Holmwood last week he compared this episode to the Hillsborough scandal, in which it took almost three decades of campaigning for the people of Liverpool to establish that 96 football fans had died not because of their own drunkenness but because of police negligence. Holmwood said he could think of no other case in which the government and media had so destructively colluded to create a false narrative of events that vilified an entire community.

    I could not agree more.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/investigation-trojan-horse-plot-urgently-needed-1374680665

  6. #244
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam


    In the shadows: How Prevent functions outside of the public eye

    #Prevent

    The recent focus on SOAS sheds light on a series of important aspects of the way Prevent operates in universities, and in general


    Recent discussions about the implementation of the Prevent agenda at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) raise a series of important issues about the nature of the policy and the way it is being implemented - both in our universities and beyond.

    Prevent agenda

    Indeed, what has been striking is the difficulty of establishing what exactly has been going on. SOAS vice chancellor, and former Blair associate during the war in Iraq, Valerie Amos, appeared to be claiming that SOAS had not participated in the Prevent agenda but that it was coming under increasing pressure to do so.

    Yet when asked, SOAS stated that no official pressure was being applied at all.

    Furthermore, students and staff members, who were approached by Middle East Eye had a very different take on matters. They all confirmed that SOAS was complying with Prevent, had done so in as limited a way as possible, and was increasingly pressured by HEFCE - the official university funding body - to implement harsher and more draconian policies.

    This story, beyond exposing some of the details of how Prevent functions, highlights crucial details of how the government's so-called anti-radicalisation programme functions. This is particularly important because of two factors.

    Since 2011, universities have been targeted as a prime concern for the government's counter-extremism policy. In addition, the Counter Terrorism and Security Act, passed in 2015, made so-called "safeguarding" (that is reporting on imagined radicalisation) a legal duty for all civil servants.

    Given that Prevent functions on the assumptions that thoughts and ideas, rather than criminal actions, should be policed and kept under surveillance, education as a hotbed for the exchange and challenging of ideas becomes a key area of focus.

    In the shadows

    In this context, the recent focus on SOAS sheds light on a series of important aspects of the way Prevent operates in universities, and therefore also in general.

    Firstly, it is striking that Prevent works in the shadows. It functions outside of the public eye and is dependent on blurring its own edges. Indeed, it is striking that SOAS management is able to both declare that it is complying with the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (CTSA), and assure people that it is not implementing Prevent.

    It can both reassure the state that it is taking the necessary steps demanded of it, while also telling students there is nothing to worry about.

    This lack of clarity is not solely down to shortcomings in the honesty of managers at SOAS. It sheds light on the way Prevent functions as a disciplining tool exactly because it is unclear where and how it is implemented.

    The knowledge of the CTSA, and by extension of Prevent, is enough to serve as pressure on staff and students to police themselves to think twice about their contributions in class, course material, or organised events.

    The fact that it remains constantly unclear whether SOAS management is snooping on them, or how, strengthens this tendency by blurring the lines of what is acceptable and what isn't, and creates an atmosphere of worry, suspicion, as well as normalisation of the new order.

    Between legality and financial coercion

    Secondly, it is striking that Prevent is being enforced in a space between legality and financial coercion. On the one hand, the CTSA makes "safeguarding" a legal obligation. On the other, Prevent remains a "voluntary scheme" - although the consequences of refusing to participate in de-radicalisation training remain unclear.

    It is therefore technically possible for universities to do the first without complying with the second.

    It seems that at first this was the position of SOAS and other universities in 2015. They simply considered that they had enough existing processes in place to cater for vulnerable students.

    However, through bodies such as HEFCE for universities, Ofsted for schools, or the Charity Commission for students' unions, so-called "good practice" is established and effectively imposed on institutions.

    Let's say that the first year SOAS doesn't change any of its "safeguarding" procedures, but other universities do. In the same period, King's College London starts monitoring emails, Westminster University installs swipe cards and cameras to monitor the prayer room, and a series of other universities start screening speakers under Prevent guidelines for student and academic events.

    This then allows HEFCE to come back to SOAS the next year and tell them that their existing approaches are no longer sufficient, that there is new "best practice" in the industry, and that therefore it will need to either catch up or face losing its funding or accreditation.

    The same happens with students' unions under the pressure of the Charity Commission.

    A kafkaesque situation


    The implementation is, therefore, not a legal obligation as such, but institutions are being effectively coerced by extra-legal bodies to implement a so-called voluntary policy. It is clear that the whole system has a total lack of accountability. The government can continue to claim that they are not forcing anybody to implement anything. Managers can say that they have no choice if they want to keep running their institutions. And bodies such as HEFCE or the Charity Commission are not democratically elected and therefore difficult to hold to account. The logic is further maintained through regular witchhunts in the media, which put additional pressure on managers and institutions.

    Students and staff are, therefore, stuck in a kafkaesque situation where no one is in charge, nothing is obligatory, and there is nowhere to appeal - yet our spaces of learning, the trust relations between students and staff, and the basic tenets of academic freedom are being undermined. All the while we are told repeatedly that free speech on campuses is at risk because of the open, public, and democratic campaigns run by Palestine solidarity activists, feminists and anti-racists.

    The lack of clarity of Valerie Amos should not give us the impression that she is an innocent cog in a broader machine, just trying to do the best she can. It is in fact part and parcel of the policy, and she is playing her part strikingly well.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/shadows-how-prevent-functions-outside-public-eye-1603375547

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  8. #245
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Like to share


  9. #246
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update

    Top Counter Terrorism officer uses Right wing platform to deliver deeply disturbing speech

    London – National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing Mark Rowley’s recent address to the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange calling for a “whole society response” to the “chronic threat of extremism” is deeply disturbing, contradictory, and shows he is completely out of touch with reality.

    Rowley presented a tired rehash of tried and failed models. The fact that a police officer addressed a right-wing organisation connected to the Henry Jackson Society and the broader Islamophobia network casts doubt on the impartiality of the police and does little for their credibility and legitimacy that he so wishes to secure.

    Moreover in his speech, Rowley particularly honed in on children, calling for the removal of children of individuals convicted of ‘terrorism’ offences and putting them on a par with paedophiles. This is an outrageous statement when terrorism offences are so broad to include someone who refuses to answer Schedule 7 questions, or someone who has expressed controversial views or downloaded a document for research.

    The “whole society response” Rowley is advocating, is nothing short than an attempt to further entrench PREVENT and all its failings within society. He appears ignorant of the mounting academic and practitioner evidence that, domestic and foreign policies play a significant role in seeding grievances and conveniently diverts attention to communities and groups that seek accountability from the state.

    Asim Qureshi, Research Director for CAGE, said:

    “The top CT officer is profoundly confused. On the one hand he is calling for a “whole society response” to the problem of “extremism” and terrorism, while on the other he denies he is presenting the now debunked conveyor belt theory or calling for new laws. Instead he seeks to conflate issues of religious choices, political belief and community relations with the idea of “extremism” in order to further consolidate state control on public discourse.”

    “Rowley’s first duty should be to respect the rule of law and ensure professional competence of his staff for the safety and security of all, rather than fanning the flames of fear to justify, among other disturbing ideas, the targeting of families and children.”

    “Our reports into the effects of counter terrorism laws, and more specifically PREVENT have been endorsed by hundreds of academics and echoed by trade unions, students bodies and professionals across the board. To dismiss this as ‘spreading disinformation’ and ‘undermining’ of government efforts against the threat of terrorism, is wholly disingenuous and a denial of reality”

    https://cage.ngo/press-release/top-counter-terrorism-officer-uses-right-wing-platform-to-deliver-deeply-disturbing-speech/

    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Another update

    Henry Jackson Society launches outrageous attack on Muslim charitable sector

    The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) deplores, in no uncertain terms, the outrageous attack launched against a substantial portion of the Muslim charitable sector in a report published by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS).

    While those with the time and inclination to read through the 170+ page report will note the frivolity, superficiality and foolishness the report demonstrates throughout, the attack itself is outrageous because of its publisher.

    HJS, a charity itself, which came under attack in Parliament for refusing to disclose its donors, seems to be entirely dedicated to churning out anti-Muslim material and political propaganda dressed as research. That the HJS sees itself as a censor and regulator of Muslim institutions and behaviour in Britain is ludicrous enough, but when taking into account HJS’ own behaviour, this report becomes of pure comedic quality. However, when considering even the obnoxious title of the report; “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”, which could be deemed deeply racist and plays on anti-Muslim tropes of plots and disloyalty, one appreciates that this is far from being a laughing matter.

    Meanwhile, the Muslim Charitable sector continues to win plaudits, including from Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, for its catering to the most generous and giving faith sector throughout British society. The attack from the likes of HJS, clearly irritated by the fact that British Muslims are performing so admirably in giving to those in need in Britain and around the world, will do little to deter either the Muslim charity sector or British Muslims.

    MAB President, Anas Altikriti stated this morning: “It is absurd that an organisation of ill-repute such as the HJS could have the temerity to attack the Muslim charity sector in this manner, while itself unable to respond to accusations of lack of transparency and Islamophobia, if not clear-cut racism. This report underlines HJS and its mysterious backers’ absolute contempt for Muslims in Britain and its hatred for when they perform well, and is therefore, literally, not worth the many papers it is written on.”

    The Muslim Association of Britain calls on the Charity Commission’s new Chair Baroness Stowell to ensure that spiteful attacks by entities such as HJS do not succeed in undermining the tremendous and indispensable work carried out by Muslim charities across all sectors of society.



    Muslim Association of Britain

    https://www.mabonline.net/henry-jackson-society-launches-outrageous-attack-on-muslim-charitable-sector/

  10. #247
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update

    Mark Rowley's extremism speech: Why policemen and politics should never mix

    #Islamophobia

    The Met's top counter-terrorism officer has dangerously undermined the very ideals of community policing that he claims to uphold


    Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the UK's head of counter-terrorism policing, is a brave man and an accomplished officer. But he took leave of his senses when he agreed to deliver a speech to the think tank Policy Exchange last night. It’s always wrong for serving police officers to get involved at this level in public policy.

    As for Rowley’s decision to give a press conference beforehand, this was frankly peculiar. It is not the job of a policeman to play politics.

    Don’t get me wrong. A lot of Rowley’s speech was admirable, in particular his references to Robert Peel, the founder of the modern police force, and his ideal of community policing. Peel stressed that police must work hand in hand with the public. This is what made it so strange that Rowley dedicated his speech to attacking Muslim community organisations.

    Rowley outrageously defamed Muslim groups Mend and Cage – both legitimate community-based organisations - by comparing them to Britain First and Anjem Choudary’s Al-Muhajiroun, both of them criminal groups. He ignored the fact that Mend and Cage (nothwithstanding its mistakes) have genuine roots in Britain’s Muslim communities, while claiming that they contribute to a climate of alienation that breeds terrorists by speaking “in such a way to create and exploit grievances and isolation”.

    Meanwhile he praised the counter-extremism work of a series of individuals who have no serious links to Muslim communities at all. First of all, Rowley cited the “outstanding efforts” of Sara Khan, the government's new counter extremism commissioner.

    Perhaps. But Middle East Eye has shown that a campaign by Inspire, Khan’s human rights organisation, was produced by the Home Office.

    And Khan’s appointment as counter extremism commissioner last month was widely criticised by mainstream Muslim organisations and individuals.

    The Muslim Council of Britain said the appointment would be seen as designed “to placate those small sections of society who see Muslims as foreign, alien, rather than as equal citizens in this country".

    Baroness Sayeeda Warsi said Khan “is sadly seen by many as simply a creation of and mouthpiece for the Home Office”.

    Rowley also praised Amanda Spielman, the head of schools watchdog Ofsted, whose intervention into the debate over hijabs in East London earlier this year was ill-informed and frankly half-witted.

    The counterterrorism chief also referenced William Shawcross, whose Charity Commission turned itself into a political regulator as well as a charitable one when in 2015 it made the unprecedented decision, later overturned in the High Court, to order the funders of Cage to cease their funding. Shawcross, a former director of the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society, is not a neutral. He once said, "Europe and Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future". Shawcross is entitled to his opinions. But why on earth is Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer giving him credibility?

    It was also dismaying to see Rowley reference the Trojan Horse affair, which, as explained in scholarly fashion by the recent book by the sociologists John Holmwood and Therese O’Toole, is no more than a lurid figment of the neo-conservative imagination.

    Top-down policing

    Rowley stressed that he was "not blaming whole communities – I simply condemn the awful behaviour of just a few who claim to represent them". But none of the individuals he cited as architects of this community policing have credibility with many ordinary Muslims.

    Robert Peel, the inventor of community policing, must be spinning in his grave! Rowley’s speech wasn’t about community policing. It was about top-down policing.

    It is significant and deeply ironic that the speech was made in Whitehall and organised by Dean Godson, director of Policy Exchange. Mark Rowley is a policeman. There’s no reason why he should know, but Policy Exchange has dedicated itself to opposing rather than supporting so-called community policing.

    Before Policy Exchange set up shop 15 years ago the police and intelligence services concentrated with remarkable success on developing deep, trusting relationships with Muslim communities and institutions.
    For example, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland they worked with Republican groups in order to isolate terrorists. Meanwhile British government, police and intelligence services saw their job as enforcing the law rather than policing ideology or personal beliefs.


    Policy Exchange argued that this policy was wrong when it came to Islam. They argued against giving credibility to community groups, and pressed the authorities to police so-called "extremism" as well as fighting terror. Policy Exchange made the case instead for an ideological battle against what it called Islamism, instead of old-fashioned policing of violent criminals.

    So poor old Mark Rowley’s speech yesterday was a muddle, an intellectual shambles.

    Serves him right for playing politics when he ought to be doing his day job.

    His intervention is just the latest example of the new approach to Muslims since last year’s general election.

    The Tory manifesto pledged to “support the public sector and civil society in identifying extremists, countering their messages and promoting pluralistic, British values".

    The appointment of Khan as extremism commissioner, and Spielman’s poorly judged intrusion into matters of school uniform, are both part of the new doctrine. What a pity that Mark Rowley, a long-serving police officer only weeks from his retirement, should have damaged his reputation by sanctioning such an ideological approach to police-work. The Assistant Commissioner also fails to grapple with the admittedly complex issue of how to define extremism.

    One of the hallmarks of extremism, so he argues, is 'generating distrust of state institutions'. According to this definition Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were both extremists.

    Another is "exploiting grievances." Welcome to the world of Jeremy Corbyn.

    Let's face it. Mark Rowley was out of his depth.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns...ics-1683085730

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update. The debate on Tariq Ramadans detention by French authorities.


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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Just to reiterate what prevent is all about.


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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    The wonders of living in a secular theocracy. Its not just Muslims who are targeted, Christians as well.


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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update

    How to Drive Change: The Future of Muslim Activism – at Mfest



    Good Muslim or bad Muslim? Moderate or radical? Establishment or grassroots? Global or local? Exploring the ways, we mobilise, conform, rebel and evolve, Asim Qureshi’s new book, A Virtue of Disobedience, examines our agency. He will be in conversation with fellow panellists Hareem Gani, National Union of Student (NUS) Women’s Officer, and Dr Narzanin Massoumi, author of ‘Muslim Women, Social Movements and the War on Terror’.

    Asim Qureshi
    Asim has a law degree and a masters degree in Human Rights and Islamic Law. He is the Research Director of the advocacy organisation CAGE, and since 2004 has specialised in investigating the impact of the global War on Terror. His is the author of the 2009 book, Rules of the Game: Detention, Deportation, Disappearance and is the author of a forthcoming title ‘A Virtue of Disobedience’. He co-founded the book review website The Bookslamist and is currently completing a PhD in International Conflict Analysis.

    Malia Bouattia
    Malia is an activist, the former President of the National Union of Students, co-founder of the Students not Suspects/Educators not Informants Network and presenter/panellist on British Muslim TV’s Women Like Us. She also writes for The New Arab, Aljazeera the Middle East Eye and has recently contributed to the newly published For the Many: Preparing Labour For Power alongside Ken Loach, Jon Lansman and others.

    Date and Time: Sunday, 29th April 2018 at 10:30am – 11:30am

    Address:
    Auditorium, Knowledge Centre, The British Library
    96 Euston Road,
    King’s Cross, London
    NW1 2DB

    https://cage.ngo/event/how-to-drive-change-the-future-of-muslim-activism-at-mfest/

    Recent conference in Istanbul, Turkey tackling prejudices Muslim experience.


  16. #252
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update

    Ofsted “targeting” Muslim schools through use of “no-notice” inspections


    The Claystone thinktank has found that the schools’ regulator Ofsted is targeting Muslim schools through the use of “no-notice inspections” in order to impose so-called “British values” on them.

    In a recent report titled “Losing Faith in Ofsted,” the thinktank said that this was creating a climate of fear, intimidation and discrimination.

    Over the last few years there has been a concerted effort by Ofsted to ensure that “British values” are actively promoted in schools. Through the use of no-notice inspections, these values are being imposed on schools across the country. Where schools are deemed to not be implementing these values, they can be closed down.

    Report author Dr Umer Siddique said: “Our exclusive findings show that faith schools are being disproportionately targeted by these no-notice inspections. Within this cohort of faith schools, Muslim faith schools in particular, have borne the brunt of these inspections. This has created a climate of fear, intimidation and a sense of discrimination.”

    Dr Siddique added: “Recent comments by the chief inspector of schools in England, Amanda Spielman, where she suggested that religious fundamentalists wanted to ‘indoctrinate impressionable minds,’ were both alarming and largely unfounded. Such sensationalist comments must raise concerns that this targeting of faith schools may well be ideologically driven…

    “Where schools are performing poorly then clearly this needs to be reversed. But this sense of fear around projecting a particular, legitimate, religious identity cannot be tolerated and Ofsted has been directly implicated in cultivating this climate. We urgently call for a government rethink of current policy, in particular with a view to shifting away from this very narrow interpretation of ‘values’ to a broader shared collective identity.”

    Many in the Muslim community feel that Ofsted has targeted Muslim children over the past few years. Several high-performing schools in Birmingham were put in Special Measures by Ofsted and Muslim educationalists were forced out of their jobs following the “Trojan Horse” affair, which was later largely discredited.

    The former head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, critcised the wearing of the veil in schools and the current chief, Amanda Spielman, has said that Muslim girls will be questioned by inspectors about why they wear the hijab.

    In February, Spielman said in a speech that religious fundamentalists wanted to “actively pervert the purpose of education … and in the worst cases to indoctrinate impressionable minds with extremist ideology”.

    https://5pillarsuk.com/2018/03/12/ofsted-targeting-muslim-schools-through-use-of-no-notice-inspections/

  17. #253
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Like to share


  18. #254
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another perspective but related.

    The 'patriotic' thought police came for Corbyn. You are next

    Is this a warning? In the past few days I have begun to sense a dangerous and dark new intolerance in the air, which I have never experienced before. An unbidden instinct tells me to be careful what I say or write, in case it ends badly for me. How badly? That is the trouble. I am genuinely unsure.

    I have been to many countries where free speech is dangerous. But I have always assumed that there was no real risk here.

    Now, several nasty trends have come together. The treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, both by politicians and many in the media, for doing what he is paid for and leading the Opposition, seems to me to be downright shocking.

    I disagree with Mr Corbyn about many things and actively loathe the way he has sucked up to Sinn Fein. But he has a better record on foreign policy than almost anyone in Parliament. Above all, when so many MPs scuttled obediently into the lobbies to vote for the Iraq War, he held his ground against it and was vindicated.

    Mr Corbyn has earned the right to be listened to, and those who now try to smear him are not just doing something morally wrong. They are hurting the country. Look at our repeated rushes into foolish conflict in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. All have done us lasting damage.

    Everyone I meet now thinks they were against the Iraq War (I know most of them weren’t, but never mind). So that’s over.

    But Libya remains an unacknowledged disgrace. David Cameron has not suffered for it, and those who cheered it on have yet to admit they were mistaken.

    Yet we pay for it, literally, every day. Along with our clinically insane covert intervention on the side of Al Qaeda in Syria, the Libyan adventure created the unending migration crisis across Europe which, in my view, threatens the stability of the whole continent.

    Yet I recall a surge of anger from the audience when I doubted some crude war propaganda about mass rapes in Libya on the BBC’s Question Time. War is strangely popular, until it comes to your own doorstep.

    I sense an even deeper and more thoughtless frenzy over Russia, a country many seem to enjoy loathing because they know so little about it.

    I have already been accused, on a public stage, of justifying Moscow’s crime in Salisbury. This false charge was the penalty I paid for trying to explain the historical and political background to these events. I wonder if the bitterness also has something to do with the extraordinarily deep division over the EU, which has made opponents into enemies in a way not seen since the Suez Crisis.

    In any case, the crude accusation, with its implication of treachery, frightened me. I expect, as time goes by, I will be accused of being an ‘appeaser’ and of being against ‘British values’. And then what? An apparatus of thought policing is already in place in this country. By foolishly accepting bans on Muslim ‘extremists’, we have licensed public bodies to decide that other views, too, are ‘extremist’.

    Because the authorities are terrified of upsetting Islam, nothing much will happen to Muslim militants. But conservative and Christian views such as mine will suffer.

    Christian and Jewish schools, especially ones which have conservative views on marriage and sex education, increasingly find themselves in trouble. Even mainstream Catholic and C of E schools are under stealthy attack, with attempts made to stop them ‘discriminating’ in favour of pupils from Christian homes.

    Ofsted now says that ‘all schools’ have a ‘duty to actively promote fundamental British values’, which sounds totalitarian to me. This includes so-called ‘mutual respect and tolerance of values different from their own’. Actually, there is nothing mutual about it. The sexual revolution fanatics demand submission, and offer no tolerance in return. Now the freedom to educate children at home, always a barometer of liberty, is being seriously threatened for the first time in our history. The pretext for this is supposed fears of child abuse or ‘extremism’. The real reason is that so much home education rejects the so-called ‘British values’ of multiculturalism and sexual liberation.

    What next? ‘British values’ over foreign policy, war, immigration? I expect so. TV and the internet have for years been promoting a leaden conformism, whose victims are actually shocked – and often angry – when anyone disagrees.

    There’s no real spirit of liberty left in this country.

    Yes, I am scared, and I never have been before. And so should you be.

    War, or the danger of war, is always an opportunity to silence troublemakers.

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/

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  20. #255
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update.

    Report finds some NHS mental health trusts screen all patients for radicalisation

    Study by Warwick University also found patients referred to Prevent programme for watching Arabic TV or going to Mecca


    Four NHS mental health trusts are subjecting patients to blanket screening for radicalisation, with some referred to the Prevent programme for watching Arabic TV or going on pilgrimage to Mecca, a new report has revealed.

    The Warwick University study surveyed 329 NHS staff on Prevent anti-radicalisation measures in the health service. With the UK the only country in the world to incorporate the duty to report signs of radicalisation into its healthcare system, NHS trusts are obliged to train staff to report patients or staff they suspect of being radicalised to safeguarding teams.

    But according to study authors Charlotte Heath-Kelly and Erzsébet Strausz, less than half of the staff surveyed believe that Prevent belongs in the NHS or that it is intended as a safeguarding measure.

    “There is evidence to suggest that the mentally ill are being inappropriately stigmatised as terrorism risks,” the report, called Counter-Terrorism in the NHS, states.

    Heath-Kelly and Strausz sent freedom of information requests to all 54 NHS mental health trusts in England. Of the 49 that replied, four said that they assessed every patient for signs of radicalisation, while the others reported that they conducted radicalisation risk assessments on patients they had specific concerns about.

    70% of NHS staff surveyed said they would be likely or very likely to raise a Prevent query on the basis of someone owning anarchist or Islamic philosophy books.

    The staff surveyed also revealed a number of disturbing examples of what led to people being referred to Prevent by NHS staff, including:

    • A healthcare professional visiting a family at home who saw the child watching an Arabic TV channel with Arabic reading materials lying around.
    • An Asian man who was travelling to Saudi Arabia for the hajj.
    • A man who went to an accident and emergency department with burned hands, did did not provide an explanation for how he came by the burns, and was subsequently referred to police on suspicion of experimenting with bomb-making.


    The report, which says that in Prevent priority areas Home Office officials are embedded in the NHS, will add to concerns over the use of the programme. It has already faced controversy as a method of identifying people who may have become radicalised and is distrusted by some communities.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/19/report-finds-some-nhs-mental-health-trusts-screening-all-patients-for-radicalisation-prevent

    Study by Warwick University also found patients referred to Prevent programme for watching Arabic TV or going to Mecca

  21. #256
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update. More hysteria.

    CAGE rejects Defence Select Committee’s criminalisation of Islam and offers a new way forward

    London – CAGE has published a report in reaction to a Defence Select Committee call for submissions on whether “Islamist terrorism” is “the existential threat to the UK”.

    We have chosen not to engage in the process on this issue because we believe it is unacceptable for a parliamentary committee to link Islam with the idea of an “existential threat”.

    It is important to note that verified and reliable statistics show that acts of political violence perpetrated in the UK are not an existential threat. This alarmist approach is misleading and problematic for the following reasons:

    • It links Islam with violence and ignores the many causes that lead individuals to violence.
    • It establishes a dialectic that reinforces notions of ‘us v them’, inviting threat management on a mass scale in a panic-driven environment.


    CAGE has prepared a rebuttal that interrogates the very premise of the questions raised by the Defence Committee. It provides an evidence based analysis and a way forward that encourages upholding the rule of law, mutual trust, openness and full transparency, so that we may arrive at real solutions.
    Asim Qureshi, research director for CAGE, said:

    “The assumptions at the heart of the Defence Select Committee’s question are fear-based and deeply problematic. The question itself is alarmist and therefore invites an alarmist response. It seeks to skew the debate based on unknowns, while also clouding the core issue: that the state simply must acknowledge the destructive effect of current policies both foreign and domestic, and multiple other causes for grievances taking root.”

    “CAGE acknowledges that governments have a duty to protect their citizens, but we are of the view that we need a new way forward. However, rather than over reliance on legislation and policy that seeks future threats, criminalises communities, and separates families, police and courts must be bound by due process and an un-politicised body of law.”

    https://cage.ngo/press-release/cage-rejects-defence-select-committees-criminalisation-of-islam-and-offers-a-new-way-forward/

  22. #257
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update, British media continues its propaganda campaign.

    Response to Channel 4 Dispatches: ‘Who Speaks for British Muslims?’

    An upcoming Channel 4 documentary entitled ‘Who speaks for British Muslims’ will seek to smear a number of Muslim organisations and personalities. The production company behind the programme used the tactic of ‘secret recordings’ in order to portray otherwise normal behaviour, as something sinister. We’ve put together a detailed written response to their accusations, and we ask whether their methods are ethical and if they are really concerned for Muslims.

    We’ve also issued a video response that recounts a vivid encounter with a vulnerable person recruited to carry out such a recording in the CAGE offices:



    Below is our full written response

    Dear Mr Henshaw,

    We’ve received your letter dated 16th March giving us the opportunity to reply to questions raised in your show entitled “Who speaks for British Muslims?” on Channel 4.

    Please see our response here in full:

    1. CAGE’s relationship with Mend


    CAGE works with a number of organisations who oppose or question current thinking on how best to face the challenge of political violence, among them MEND. Our position on counter-terrorism legislation – that it is counter-productive and discriminatory – has been echoed by many organisations and individuals, including Max Hill, the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, and it is backed up by a number of academically reviewed, and case study-based reports available on our website.

    CAGE prides itself on its independence and the ability to principally highlight abuses of the rule of law that take place within the war on terror. This independence stems from our community who support our work via thousands of individual donations.

    As with all donor funded organisations, we are unable to disclose details of our donors under the Data Protection Act 1998. Any assertion by you regarding details of donations, would be conjecture and inference.

    2. CAGE and ‘ISIS’ prison bombing


    This question is factually incorrect and does not take into account the full context of the conversation. The statement was made in relation to a joint Jabhat al-Nusra Ahrar Al Shaam, and other rebel factions operation to liberate prisoners held without due process in Aleppo prison.

    Prison conditions under the Assad regime are known to be amongst the most dire in the world. These prisons are places where thousands are held in arbitrary detention and torture, rape, malnourishment and summary executions are the norm.

    To frame support for an operation to liberate such prisoners, where there were no civilian casualties and the target was a military outpost, as support for terrorism is grossly misleading and simply untrue.

    It is pertinent to mention here that when it comes to deposing a tyrant, suicide missions targeting military and government installations were even used by the Allied forces in World War 2 against the Nazis. One such suicide raid was described by Lord Mountbatten as “the most courageous and imaginative of all the raids ever carried out by the men of Combined Operations”. During the Battle of Britain, a number of RAF pilots were celebrated for using their own aircraft as weapons when the need arose.

    As far as ISIS is concerned, CAGE Outreach Director Moazzam Begg, has warned against the group as far back as 2013 and on numerous occasions after that. Any claim that CAGE supports or defends acts of terrorism is false.

    As a point of principle, CAGE opposes and rejects all unlawful violence whether committed by state, organisational or individual actors. We are deeply sympathetic to the victims of violence and their loved ones.

    3. CAGE and Mohammed Emwazi

    CAGE referred to Emwazi as once having been “a beautiful young man” – it was not made in any way in connection to his character at the time of his alleged actions. This was a comment echoed not only by CAGE but by his teachers and former friends. We have clarified this repeatedly and information related to our handling of this issue is available on our website.

    As for being labelled “extremist” by the Home Office, the authorities have gone so far as to designate Green Party peer Jenny Jones as an “extremist”. Anti-war, anti-fracking, pro-Palestinian, anti-austerity, animal rights groups and aid convoys have also been labelled as “extremist” threats under the government’s disastrous flagship counter-extremism programme, PREVENT. The bar for declaring individuals and organisations “extremist” is so ludicrous that Her Majesty’s opposition Jeremy Corbyn has even garnered the label.

    The ‘confidential report’ allegedly from the Home Office stating that CAGE is “extremist” is an expected product of a perfidious government that seeks to criminalise all those who question its foreign and domestic policies, and for this we will continue to hold it to account.

    It is worth noting that we have revealed that assessments of ‘extremism’ within the Home Office are conducted by the Extremism Analysis Unit (EAU), a secretive government unit which takes its cues and “information” from the notoriously anti-Muslim Henry Jackson Society. It may be of interest to you to allay these concerns and quiz your ‘confidential source’ on his links to both these bodies in the spirit of full transparency.

    In conclusion and in keeping with the theme of transparency, we would like to raise an issue of concern that has been brought up by countless reports we’ve received concerning a media company we strongly suspect is your own, having a keen interest in ‘uncovering’ information about our Outreach Director, Moazzam Begg.

    We were told that this media company did not want to approach him in person but was seeking individuals to ‘give up’ information on him. We would like you to kindly clarify whether your company is the one involved in this, and if so, what your motivation is for using such underhanded and unethical methods in an attempt to smear Mr Begg.

    In addition, we would like to note that your and other journalists’ unethical techniques of “secret recordings” ostensibly in the name of “public interest” in fact place immense pressure on vulnerable people who may not be wise to the aims of agencies such as yours, who exploit their financial needs or aspirations, and pit them against their own communities.

    We received one such person in our offices who could not cope with the pressure placed upon him by his media handlers. This individual broke down in front of us and removed the wiring that had been placed on him in full view of our staff team.

    Instead of employing underhanded methods in an attempt to sensationalise and criminalise what have been proven time and again in the face of intense state scrutiny to be perfectly legal organisations and opinions, we would like to invite you to adopt a more courageous approach. Please do consider meeting us and the other Muslim groups who are truly supported by the community face to face, and present the questions and information you have about us so that we may rectify inaccuracies and misunderstandings in person.

    Surely as someone researching the topic of “Who speaks for British Muslims?”, it is expected of you and your team to engage fully and honestly with all the relevant voices in an earnest attempt to understand the real concerns of communities, and reflect whether organisations and individuals are accurately representing them. This would certainly best answer the question posed in the title of your programme.

    Attempting to cast our organisation and others with sinister intent suggests your agency has no interest in whether we are accurately representing Muslims. Rather it appears you are harbouring ulterior motives that betray the ethical tenements of objectivity and transparency that is expected of good journalism. This approach is the tactic of tabloid sensationalism, and we are confident that on the airing of your programme, our support in the Muslim community and among right-minded individuals will be further bolstered.

    Having said this, our door is always open to honest interactions for the benefit of all.

    Yours sincerely,


    Dr Adnan Siddiqui
    Director

    https://cage.ngo/article/response-to-channel-4-dispatches-who-speaks-for-british-muslims/

  23. #258
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update

    Dispatches programme unwittingly exposes ‘blacklisting’ by secretive Home Office agency

    London – A recent documentary on Channel 4, entitled ‘Who speaks for British Muslims?’, unwittingly exposed the role of the secretive government Extremism Analysis Unit (EAU) and its Islamophobic bias in blacklisting Muslim organisations.

    In a report published by us late last year, we highlighted how the EAU takes instructions from the notoriously Islamophobic Henry Jackson Society (HJS), which lists amongst it’s directors Douglas Murray and formerly William Shawcross, the latter who claimed that “Europe and Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future”.

    The documentary highlighted that the Home Office handed the state education regulator Ofsted a report produced by the EAU, which dissuaded it from meeting with the Muslim group Mend.

    This raises serious questions about the sources of this secretive agency, its role in institutionalising Islamophobic assertions within the state structure and the way it criminalises perfectly legal organisations and individuals.

    Moazzam Begg, Outreach director for CAGE said:

    “We anticipated in our response to this documentary that the EAU would play a central role in the official ‘blacklisting’ of Muslim organisations. We strongly oppose how such designations take place when there is no accountability or any avenue to challenge being blacklisted.”

    “We’ve previously revealed that designations by the EAU are provided by the Islamophobic HJS, tainting them with a neo-conservative bent and bringing it into serious disrepute. Such ‘blacklisting’ should be exposed for what it is, a targeted attempt by the state to silence voices of dissent. It’s worth noting that HJS associate director, Douglas Murray, once infamously told the Dutch Parliament that “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board”. When the EAU, an arm of the Home Office, takes its lead from people with such disturbing and abhorrent views, they really need to come clean and be held to account. ”

    “Given that the EAU has refused on occasions to give up its reports on grounds of national security, we question how it was possible for a journalist to get hold of such information. This gives rise to the further question of whether this information sharing between secretive government departments and the right-wing press is an example of state complicity in dark propaganda against its own citizens.”

    [Ends]

    https://cage.ngo/press-release/dispatches-programme-unwittingly-exposes-blacklisting-by-secretive-home-office-agency/

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update



    This book will be coming out soon



    Really pleased to share the cover of my forthcoming book 'A Virtue of Disobedience'. Now more than ever we need to be disobedient to the narratives that seek to undermine us!

    Inshallah hope to share links for pre-orders soon. A big thank you and jazakamullahkhayr to all those who helped to realise this book, your copies will be in the post by this time in April inshallah.
    Last edited by Junon; 03-30-2018 at 10:04 PM.
    1 | Likes Mahir Adnan liked this post

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  26. #260
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update, government engaging in another re-branding exercise.

    Prevent needs to be abandoned not reformed

    A new anti-radicalisation programme was launched last week called ‘Safe and Secure’ as an alternative to the government’s ‘toxic brand’ Prevent Strategy launched many years ago. The Safe and Secure programme aims to address the same issues as Prevent but “without the stigma” attached to it for the Muslim community.

    The programme was created by a former senior Muslims police officer, Dal Babu and Mike Howes, a former council head of community safety. The programme has also reported to have been backed by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

    Sections of the press portrayed the launch of this programme as something which was “launched by Mosques” due to the first launch event being held at the London Muslim Centre, next to the East London Mosque. Maybe forgetting that in 2015 the Waltham Forest Council for Mosques announced a boycott of Prevent accusing it as being a racist attack on the Muslim community.

    Around the same time Sajid Javid, the government’s Communities Secretary revealed a new government pledge of £50m to help boost integration.

    In what is clearly seen as a rebranding of successive government’s failed Prevent strategies, Javid said the pilot areas for this initiative would be densely populated Muslim areas including Blackburn, Bradford and Peterborough.

    Like Safe and Secure it would address issues to do with segregation of ethnic minority communities and integration with a particular focus on Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who could not speak English and ironically did not claim child care vouchers; citing this as an example of limiting their work opportunities and integration as well as their children’s integration!

    Sajid Javid’s announcement follows a review of social integration in England in 2017 by Dame Louise Casey who, predictively, handpicked issues from the Muslim community as key examples of segregation of communities and “deeply regressive religious and cultural practises, especially when it comes to women”.

    It is therefore no surprise to anyone that this announcement has selectively used examples from the Muslim community again in a desperate attempt to achieve what Prevent miserably failed to do.

    Comment: it is not at all surprising for anyone who has followed the events since the launch of Prevent, the number of times the government and its financial beneficiaries who take Prevent funding have tried to rebrand this failure of a policy.

    The government has pumped millions of taxpayers’ money for numerous attempts to revive Prevent after it became clear to all that it was a failure.

    Why Did Prevent Fail?

    The government’s Prevent programme was launched after the 7/7 attacks in London with the aim of making the UK a safer place from terrorist attacks. The idea was to spot people who could become radicalised as a result who would then go on to become terrorists due to their ‘radical’ views.

    In reality the programme became a ‘police-state’ style spying tool directed at the Muslim community, shifting blame and onus on the entire community to do more to root out ‘extremists from within’. According to Prevent, people who held ‘radical’ (based on the government’s definition) views could potentially become terrorists.

    How would a radical person be identified? Prevent used examples of the following to identify someone going through a process of becoming radicalised or extremist: a sudden change in behaviour such as growing a beard, changing to a more ‘Islamic dress’, stopping listening to music, having support for oppressed people like the Palestinians and even disagreeing with the government’s foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The problem with this theory is that it criminalises people for having legitimate ideas and practices according to their religion as well as having perfectly valid political criticisms of the government’s foreign policy which in turn would label them as radical and extreme. Going against a fundamental tenet of ‘freedom of speech’.

    The government provided millions in funding and training to local authorities, schools, NHS and even GPs on how to spot potential terrorists. Numerous national bodies, and high-profile people such as the National Union of Teachers, the Royal College of GPs and the former head of MI5 expressed concerns at the effect this would have on silencing and further alienating the Muslim community.

    However, the government didn’t listen and continued with the approach of apportioning suspicion and guilt on the Muslim community until it was clear to them there had been little effect.

    Therefore, Safe and Secure and other integration programmes announced by the government and its associates are evidently a rebranding and reforming of a failure.

    If the government really wants to make a change in education, employment rates and wants the wider society to accept the Muslim community it should scrap Prevent and its consequent schemes and stop shrouding the entire Muslim community with suspicion and blame for the problems it has created since its involvement in the Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria wars.

    An honest approach to the challenges of integration would be for the government to ask itself why it is trying to scare and force communities to accept ‘British values’ rather than trying to convince them through open dialogue and debate.

    http://www.hizb.org.uk/viewpoint/prevent-needs-to-be-abandoned-not-reformed/

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