British Muslims ‘genuinely fear’ persecution under UK government’s Prevent policy: Report

British Muslims are living in “genuine fear” of persecution under the UK government’s controversial counter-extremism policy Prevent, a recent report has revealed. (AFP)
Updated 30 July 2018
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British Muslims ‘genuinely fear’ persecution under UK government’s Prevent policy: Report

  • Research carried out in the northern city of Manchester, after last year’s bombing at an Ariana Grande concert discovered a 'lack of communication' with Muslim communities
  • The commission also called for the Home Office to make detailed statistics on Prevent’s work available to authorities

LONDON: British Muslims are living in “genuine fear” of persecution under the UK government’s controversial counter-extremism policy Prevent, a recent report has revealed.
Research carried out in the northern city of Manchester, after last year’s bombing at an Ariana Grande concert, found that while the policy is successful in tackling many forms of radicalization, a lack of communication with Muslim communities had caused a “dangerous, perpeutuating cycle of fear” and made British Muslims unwilling to come forward to cooperate.
An eight person committee headed by Labour councillor for Bury Rishi Shori compiled the report, which went on to say: “The lack of information is exploited by those with an anti-Prevent or anti-Islam agenda who maliciously miscommunicate the aims of Prevent or true nature of the issue.
“This has perpetuated the problem, leading to the creation of suspect communities and fear of persecution among Muslim communities.”
The commission went on to warn that while the threat of further Daesh-inspired attacks and growing Islamophobia existed, the risk of terrorists and the far-right extremist groups feeding off each would only grow in the current climate.
The commission also called for the Home Office to make detailed statistics on Prevent’s work available to Manchester authoirities, as well as those in other cities, to help dispel "myths and challenge scaremongering."
Furthermore, the report said the recent drive by the UK government to instil “British values” and a “common identity” was not working, and that there was no single issue that led to radicalization.
It added that poverty, unemployment, racial inequality and a lack of social cohesion significantly raised the potential for young, vulnerable members of society to be drawn toward groups where terrorist activity was actively discussed.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who ordered the report, said in response to the report: “If the perception of the Prevent strategy is different from the reality, then that can be exploited by those seeking to undermine any form of counter-terrorism strategy.
“Therefore we accept the need, as identified in the report, to provide more information about Prevent. Any counter-terrorism strategy needs to be localized, have community buy-in and be seen to be fair to all communities rather than appearing to target one.”
In 2016, the UK’s terror law watchdog said Muslim communities saw Prevent as a “spying program” and made recommendations for it to be changed.
The report came as a result of continued warnings by watchdogs about negative public perceptions of Prevent.


New Zealand offers residency to families of Christchurch mosque attack victims

Updated 1 min 12 sec ago
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New Zealand offers residency to families of Christchurch mosque attack victims

WELLINGTON: New Zealand opened a two-year window Wednesday for people directly affected by the Christchurch terror attacks to apply to stay permanently in the country.
The special visa category “recognizes the impact of the tragedy on the lives of those most affected, and gives people currently on temporary and resident visas some certainty” about their status, Immigration New Zealand said in a statement.
People living in New Zealand who were present at one of the mosques and their immediate family based in New Zealand qualify for the visa.
The definition of “immediate family” has been expanded to include a wide circle of family members including partner’s family and the grandparents of children under 25.
Mustafa Farouk, the president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, said it was a generous gesture.
“We are very happy,” he said, adding he expected everyone eligible would apply.
“Some of these people have not only lost their loved ones, they have also lost their main provider.”
A self-styled white supremacist opened fire on Muslims at prayer in two Christchurch mosques on March 15.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian” has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 of attempted murder.