Prevent programme spying on British Muslims

mindless slogging

First Class Star
Aug 25, 2009
Reactions to Prevent programme spying on British Muslims

Ed Husain of the anti-extremism group Quilliam and Shami Chakrabati of Liberty on how the community engagement scheme is being used to gather personal information

The video is a must watch.

If you can't get it, one person (Ed) says that we should spy on people and report people who are suspicious or extremists, and Chami argues that it will contravene the foundational basis of community relations and is 'unbritish', aswell as going against human rights.
If murderers like the 7/7 bombers could be rooted out and stopped before they get to murder innocent people then I'm all for spying.

I'd rather have members of the public being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activities, than have any member of my family or friends lose their lives.
Fair enough some respect should be given to Ed Hussain for coming back from the 'brink of radicalisation' and then going about measures to prevent others to do the same.

But in reality, most people are not tempted by radicalisation and therefore were never as vulnerable as Ed Hussain, so he's personal journey and earlier failings should not be used as a doctrine to assess a diverse range of people. He comes across as very cynical on anyone who even remotely shows signs of religiosity. His comment on handing over people who purport racist views to the authority can really be interpreted in the wrong manner.

What essentially is an extremist view? Very subjective.

I also disagree with Shami Chakribatri also, far too laissez faire and idealistic when it comes to security measures.
As far as i'm aware ed hussain was never a part of an extremist organisation, he was a member of ht- who are not banned in the uk and have never been. and do not preach violence at all.

He might have exagerrated his past which i cant really comment on as i havent wasted my time reading his book. Its obvious that he understands aligning himself against 'terrorism' or even a non violent organisation like ht whose only 'crime' is to want a world wide khalifah even if they do not want one in britain is a cash cow and the government will support him and fund him in every kind of way as they do to anyone who represents a 'liberal' islam.

As for the topic in hand, the argument for it is probably if you havent got anything to hide then whats the problem. Im sure the same argument can be used for excessive amount of cctv cameras, id cards and scanners at airports which can see you naked.

This scheme has used youthworkers to spy on kids as young as 6-10 and people from that age are scrutinised more then convicted pedophiles. When the youthworkers and other people involved with muslims have said no to spying there has been a witch hunt against them and they have subsequently been maligned, have had vicious rumours against them and been removed from their jobs.
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chacha kashmiri said:
As far as i'm aware ed hussain was never a part of an extremist organisation, he was a member of ht- who are not banned in the uk and have never been.

i thought they were banned?

eitherway didn't they morph into al-muhajiroun

we had quite a few active member who talked a good talk

stranglely enough after the 7/7 bombings when the police were sniffing around leeds they seed to dissapear quite quickly after soiling there trousers as i understand
TAK said:
i thought they were banned?

eitherway didn't they morph into al-muhajiroun

we had quite a few active member who talked a good talk

stranglely enough after the 7/7 bombings when the police were sniffing around leeds they seed to dissapear quite quickly after soiling there trousers as i understand

al muhajiroun was a splinter group from ht

and no they havent been banned
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chacha kashmiri said:
al muhajiroun was a splinter group from ht

and no they havent been banned, they actually get funding from the government too


what the uk governement?

tell me more...
TAK said:

what the uk governement?

tell me more...

The government has a history of funding groups like the mcb/, sufi groups in the uk and 'modern' scholars who get 'retaught' at cambridge
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chacha kashmiri said:
The government has a history of funding groups like the mcb/, sufi groups in the uk and 'modern' scholars who get 'retaught' at cambridge

There was an accusation last year that ht has watered down some of its rhetoric after threats of getting banned

and i read somewhere today they actually recieved money from the government in the last year which was abit of a surprise as the government calls anyone who wants a khalifah/ is against homosexuality and is against wars against muslims in places like palestine and iraq as extremists under a new policy/scheme of theirs

could you tel us where you read it today?

a link perhaps?
TAK said:
could you tel us where you read it today?

a link perhaps?

It was a story that the government had given support to some schools run by the hizb and not the actual organisation itself which is probably the case with most schools in the uk.

I dont have a link, sorry
UK muslims believed to be 'boycotting' Prevent anti-terror programme, just 10% of tip-offs to police

A vast majority of alerts to a key anti-terror scheme have come from public bodies and not from the UK's Muslim community, a report has found. Less than 10% of the tip-offs to the government's Prevent programme has come from Muslims.

The poor response from the Muslim community is because they are boycotting the Prevent programme, according to a report in The Times. In the past six months, less than 300 tip-offs were received from Muslims. Earlier in December 2015, the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques announced a boycott of Prevent.

Of the 3,288 referrals to Prevent between January and June, 280 (8.6%) came from the Muslim community, according to the National Police Chiefs Council data. In contrast, around 2,200 referrals were made by public bodies outside policing such as social services or NHS or education sectors. The rest came from prisons or police.

How true is this issue ?
Prevent scheme 'fosters fear and censorship at universities'

The government’s anti-radicalisation scheme, Prevent, is instilling “fear, suspicion and censorship” on university campuses, an advocacy group has warned.

In a report based on interviews with 36 Muslim students, academics and professionals, Just Yorkshire said the scheme had fostered a “policing culture” in higher education and argued that it should be closed down immediately.

It concludes: “A wide spectrum of our respondents articulated concerns in relation to surveillance, censorship and the resultant isolation felt by many.”

Prevent, a voluntary programme, aims to divert people from terrorism before they offend. Public bodies such as schools and universities have a duty to report those they suspect are at risk of being radicalised.

Just Yorkshire described the scheme, which police and ministers are considering making compulsory, as being “built upon a foundation of Islamophobia and racism” and said it was ineffective and counterproductive.

The report said there was “an abundant body of evidence” that Prevent officers had disrupted or closed down events about Islamophobia or terrorism that had been organised by academics and campaigners.

A National Union of Students activist told researchers that students felt “spied upon” when a Prevent officer demanded a list of names associated with the university’s Islamic society.

Dr Waqas Tufail, the report’s co-author and a senior lecturer in social sciences at Leeds Beckett University, said fellow academics – both Muslim and non-Muslim – were resorting to self-censorship when discussing topics around Islam.

Tufail said he knew of a case where a criminology lecturer ran her course’s reading list past the police “just in case there was anything too critical”. He said: “I was gobsmacked by that. If we get into this habit of the police authorising what we teach then we’re living in dangerous times.”

Tufail said young Muslims saw Prevent as compulsory. Making participation in the programme mandatory would “certainly damage relations between the state, the police, local authorities and Muslim communities”, he said.

Max Hill QC, the government’s independent reviewer of terrorism laws, said earlier this month he had met Muslim communities across England in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park and that the vast majority of people expressed distrust and resentment towards Prevent. He stopped short of calling for the programme to be revoked.

The Home Office said Just Yorkshire’s report was not independent and questioned how its 36 interviewees were chosen.

The security minister, Ben Wallace, said: “It is no wonder people are concerned about Prevent when reports such as this peddle falsehoods and create myths. Anonymous and misleading quotes riddle this report. Are we really to be expected to stop safeguarding vulnerable people from being exploited because of this flawed report?

“At its heart Prevent is about safeguarding. In the age of the internet and social media people of all backgrounds and religions are vulnerable to being exploited. The Prevent duty sits alongside the duties to protect people from sexual, bullying or criminal manipulation.

“As a parent if my children were being targeted by bullies or terrorists or paedophiles at school I would expect that such occurrences were reported and dealt with. But this report seems to suggest such reporting be stopped when it relates to exploitation by terrorists. We all have a stake in delivering safeguarding in society and I am pleased we are seeing really successful results.”
UK “anti-terror” spies snoop on Palestine solidarity activists

Leaked local government documents show that UK spy agencies are gathering information on “pro-Palestinian activity” as part of controversial “anti-terrorism” strategy Prevent.

Obtained by civil rights group CAGE, the documents are part of an aspect of Prevent known as Counter-terrorism Local Profiles, or CTLPs.

A summary of the CTLP for Sussex, on the south coast of England, shows that one of the “priority themes” in Brighton and Crawley is “pro-Palestinian” protest.

The documents also include a range of other legitimate protest groups as being of concern under “counter-terrorism,” including “environmental protest” and anti-fracking groups.

The liberal coastal city of Brighton is home to an active Palestine solidarity scene, and a particularly active chapter of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

In 2014, a branch of Israeli company Sodastream in the city had to close, after a sustained two-year campaign by local activists made the brand toxic.

Sodastream at the time operated a factory on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Ben Jamal told The Electronic Intifada that the news was “a disturbing revelation,” and said Prevent was “being used to frame legitimate political activity and peaceful human rights activism as extremist.”

He said that “there is an increasingly urgent need for government to make clear that it takes seriously its duties to protect freedom of expression and that it recognizes that those who protest peacefully against human rights abuses are not extremists and a threat to the public but informed and concerned citizens.”

Scrap Prevent

CAGE has called for the scrapping of Prevent as inimical to basic human rights.

The new documents show the policy goes “well beyond preventing political violence, and into the realm of pre-crime and the criminalization of dissent and political and/or religious activism,” the group said on Thursday.

The summary documents obtained by CAGE are two examples of those given to the heads of local governments in the UK.

According to Charles Farr, a top civil servant who coordinates the UK’s spy agencies, the summaries are given to “every chief executive in [local] areas receiving significant Prevent funding.”

A 2010 report by Parliament’s local government committee described the CTLPs as an “intelligence product” – in other words they are documents compiled by the UK’s spy agencies.

CAGE thinks it likely that the full secret documents contain “actual names of individuals and organizations.”

Prevent’s targeting of Palestine solidarity campaigning has come under scrutiny before.

Last year, in response to similar revelations about other local councils, a spokesperson for the Home Office told Middle East Eye that “Prevent is about safeguarding people at risk from being drawn into terrorism – support for Palestine is not an indicator of vulnerability.”

Public sector spying?

CAGE also obtained a questionnaire sent to government-funded public sector workers, which is used to compile the secretive profiles.

One of the questions asks respondents to list “emerging issues around communities, groups and individuals” involved in “anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian activity” or anti-austerity, anti-war and animal rights protests.

The Prevent strategy was introduced by a Labour government in 2003. It has come in for increasing criticism in recent years for its overwhelming targeting of Muslim communities, and for being institutionally Islamophobic.

Examples abound of the chilling effects of the strategy, even though most victims are likely cowed into silence.

In July 2015, one schoolboy was referred to a Prevent program and labeled “extremist” for wearing a “Free Palestine” badge.

A pamphlet encouraging the boycott of Israel by Palestine solidarity group Friends of Al-Aqsa was deemed by police to be evidence of “terrorist-like” views, according to the boy.

The schoolboy was later named as Rahmaan Mohammedi. Now 18, Mohammedi has since gone on to be a vocal activist against Prevent.

“Toxic” brand

The Labour mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham recently announced that the strategy would be replaced in his northern English city, having previously described the Prevent “brand” as “toxic.”

It was in Manchester during last May’s British general election campaign that a suicide bomber targeted a pop concert, killing 22 people. The bomber, Salem Abedi, was the son of a man who went to help overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011.

Ramadan Abedi was among a number of Libyan exiles recruited by the British spy agency MI5 to go and fight in Libya as members of the al-Qaida-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Journalist Max Blumenthal described the bombing as “blowback” from Western interventions in the region, underscoring that the intelligence agencies ostensibly tasked with preventing violent extremism have actually been fostering it. Yet that seemingly critical aspect of the attack in Manchester has been swept under the carpet by British authorities.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, described Prevent earlier this year as “often counter-productive” and implied in a 2015 interview with The Electronic Intifada that he would like to see it scrapped.

Surveillance of children

Prevent “does need a complete rethink,” Corbyn said. “This requirement of surveillance over Muslim children by teachers … means they are in problems if they don’t report what could conceivably be recorded as anything extreme.”

Corbyn argued for an approach promoting “cohesion and coherence in our society, absolutely opposed to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or racism in any form,” rather than “singling it out and saying it is the Muslim community only that matters.”

According to CAGE, the documents make “it clear that Prevent draws public sector workers into becoming intelligence gathering agents.”

This sets a dangerous precedent and marks “a complete abuse of due process and a dire threat to civil society,” the group added.

Earlier this year, home secretary Amber Rudd admitted that the majority of government counter-terror “intelligence” comes from Prevent which “engages with local community groups, not through the police.”

Prevent seems to succeed only in alienating Muslim communities, and has done little or nothing to prevent atrocities such as the Manchester bombing.