Nobody should be surprised by the “finding” by William Shawcross in his review of the much discredited Prevent policy that the government is not doing enough to combat so-called Muslim extremism.
According to the Guardian which claims to have seen a draft copy of the report, Shawcross attacks the shifting focus of Prevent towards right-wing extremism saying it is misplaced in the face of a bigger, continuing threat from Muslim extremism.
The Prevent policy was introduced in 2003 by Labour with the ostensible aim of countering Muslim extremism by tackling its assumed ideological underpinnings. However, it soon became a byword for intrusion, spying, harassment and social engineering of the Muslim community. IHRC was among the first in an ever growing list of civil society organisations that have called for it to be scrapped.
In recent years, its actual implementation progressively identified a growing problem of far right extremism. Referrals for far-right extremism to Prevent and its intervention stage, Channel, currently outstrip those for so-called Islamist radicalisations. It speaks of the motivations and beliefs of Shawcross that he is prepared to attempt to explain away the statistics to propagate his anti-Muslim hatred.
Shawcross’ comments vindicate the widespread boycott of the Prevent review by hundreds of civil society organisations when it was announced that Shawcross would lead it.
In the review, Shawcross also castigates the government for continuing to fund Muslim organisations despite their promotion of “extremist” narratives. In our view this is nothing but another cynical attempt to perpetuate the cancel culture created by right wing ideologues around Muslim political participation. It seeks to exclude Muslims from political life by problematising them as a security threat.
Conveniently, the Prevent review follows closely on the heels of a report by another right wing think tank report published last month calling on the government to desist from working with organisations that challenge the programme.
Written by the Policy Exchange, which counts William Shawcross amongst its employees, “Delegitimising Counter-Terrorism” accused the government of not doing enough to counter pushback against Prevent.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “The government refused to heed warnings when it appointed Shawcross that it was putting the fox in charge of the hen house. The only conclusion to be drawn from his findings is that they highlight a clear agenda to persist with the persecution and alienation of the Muslim community.”
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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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