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

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.


Greece: Migrant child killed in boat collision

Updated 14 min 9 sec ago

Greece: Migrant child killed in boat collision

  • The crash occurred before sunrise Wednesday in the heavily patrolled waters of the east Aegean Sea
THESSALONIKI, Greece: Greek authorities say a coast guard patrol boat collided with a dinghy carrying migrants to the island of Kos from Turkey on Wednesday, leaving a child dead and another person missing.

Officials on Kos say that 31 people have been rescued following the collision, in an effort assisted by private boats and the European Union border protection agency Frontex. The circumstances of the collision aren't immediately clear.

The crash occurred before sunrise Wednesday in the heavily patrolled waters of the east Aegean Sea.