LONDON: Muslim groups in the UK linked to the promotion of extremism are set to face funding cuts and greater monitoring under plans presented by UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman, The Times newspaper has reported.
The plans to overhaul Britain’s anti-extremism program — Prevent — comes ahead of the expected release next week of the long-awaited results of the Shawcross review of the program.
Sources told The Times that the review will criticize Prevent for failing to clamp down on, and in some cases financially supporting, Muslim groups linked to extremism.
Some such groups received funding from Prevent’s $48 million reserves allocated to support community groups tackling extremism, the report will claim.
Reviews of the charity statuses of Muslim organizations, which could lead to a loss of tax breaks, are also likely to follow.
Seven of the 13 terrorist attacks carried out in Britain in the past six years were undertaken by people known to the Prevent program, leading to criticism over the scheme’s ability to deter violence, and a surge in Prevent referrals — including 2,127 schoolboys — has led to concerns that the program is failing to stop those classed as “vulnerable” from turning to terror.
Right-wing radicals made up the second largest group of referrals to Prevent for the second year running, with 1,309.
The Shawcross report is expected to argue that Prevent has focused too heavily on right-wing extremism, ignoring the threat of radical Islamism.
One key reform that will apparently be included in the report is a requirement that every Prevent case review panel include at least one individual with experience in law enforcement, including police, intelligence and counter-terrorism.
The report — which has faced significant delays following internal disputes — will also argue that Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, as well as counterterrorism authorities, should be given greater access to the inner workings of the Prevent program in an effort to roll back the transformation of the scheme into an “extension of social services.”
As part of that proposal, local authorities and community organizations will also have less influence in deciding whether at-risk individuals should be targeted by Prevent.
Braverman will review the proposals and is expected to move forward with reforms later this year.