‘Quakers and their partners in the Community Counter to Prevent believe the report draws the wrong conclusions and bolsters the most damaging aspects of the programme.’ BYM
Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) has criticised the findings of the long-awaited review of Prevent, the government’s counter-terrorism programme. The report calls for its focus to shift more towards Islamist terrorism instead of rightwing terrorism. This was because there had been a significant growth in the latter type of referrals, the Home Office said. Forty-two percent of individuals had been referred for concerns of ‘extreme rightwing radicalisation’ compared to nineteen per cent related to Islamist radicalisation concerns.
Writing on the Quakers in Britain website, BYM said: ‘Quakers and their partners in the Community Counter to Prevent believe the report draws the wrong conclusions and bolsters the most damaging aspects of the programme.’
‘The review ignores evidence that Prevent is discriminatory and anti-democratic, and recommends an even greater emphasis on those who are already most severely impacted, particularly Muslims. The recommendation to extend the duty to other sectors will only broaden its damaging effect.’
BYM added: ‘The suggestion that the Prevent duty “works well” and is “especially effective in schools” ignores the harmful impact on those who are referred, nearly half of whom are children under the age of eighteen.’
The criticisms were echoed by other campaigners including Amnesty International UK, which said the review was ‘riddled with biased thinking, errors, and plain anti-Muslim prejudice’.
Three years ago, BYM responded to the review inquiry in December 2019, criticising the programme for failing to tackle the root causes of violence, stifling dissent, and contributing to racism and Islamophobia. After a lengthy review process, the government published the findings last month and promised to implement thirty-four recommendations.
The review has been boycotted by independent groups including Amnesty International, as well as 450 Islamic organisations. The report’s author has allegedly said that Europe’s relationship with Islam was ‘one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future’ and has defended the use of interrogation techniques, including waterboarding.
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