Friday, July 01 2016

Reshaping Prevent

 Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert Lambert, joint Directors of the European Muslim Research Centre, follow the latter’s article last week, ‘UK counter-terrorism aids far right’, with an article for Guardian Comment is Free on ‘Reshaping Prevent’, which critically appraises the IRR report, ‘Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism’.

In his earlier article Lambert drew on his experience of working in partnership with Muslims to counter the divisive ideology of violent extremists, arguing that the Quilliam Foundation’s stigmatization of these Muslims as ‘Islamists’ "provid[ing] the mood music" for violent extremists undermined the partnership approach that Prevent was supposed to foster.

In their article at the weekend, Githens-Mazer and Lambert elaborate on the deficiencies of the current Prevent strategy that Arun Kundnani’s report for the Institute of Race Relations has laid bare.

They write:

Kundnani illustrates in a non-emotive manner how the government's Prevent strategy has metamorphosed from a policy based on community engagement and partnership into a policy which seeks to control how and what Muslim communities are thinking and saying.'

‘What Kundnani so compellingly demonstrates is that Contest's transformation was more than political posturing. A previously domestically focused counter-terrorist policy suddenly became an all encompassing policy of counter-radicalisation, counter-extremism, and counter-insurgency.

‘This policy reduced them [Muslims] from potential partners working towards mutually defined agendas, to potential insurgents who needed to be cajoled, re-educated, watched, and where necessary subverted.

‘Kundnani's report has burst the bubble that counter-terrorism in 21st century Britain can be all things to all people. We hope the relative silence about the overall content of the report indicates that a full and coherent government response is being prepared – and hope that this response resists the political temptation to side-step the main issue: is Prevent from here on in about counter-insurgency or partnership – winning hearts and minds, or building a mutually shared basis for preventing any more terrorist atrocities in modern Britain?

Last Updated on Monday, 16 November 2009 17:01

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