Children who attend Fathers4Justice and anti-badger cull protests have been considered for the government’s anti-radicalisation programme, Prevent, set up to deter “violent extremism” and terrorism, an MP has claimed.
Conservative MP Lucy Allan said teachers are under increasing pressure to refer children to the Prevent Strategy, for reasons other than radical Islam, to please government inspectors.
She said there had been an “exponential increase” in the number of referrals to Prevent, as teachers “do not want to damage their school’s credibility and its Ofsted reports”, the Shropshire Star reports.
She told MPs: “As a school governor, I have seen the incentive to make referrals under Prevent. If we do not make them, we might feel that we will get into trouble, or that there will be a negative impact on the school or a teacher’s career.
“I have sat in governors’ meetings where teachers who want to comply have openly discussed scenarios such as a child coming into school and saying that he has been on a Fathers4Justice march or a march to protest against badger culls,” she said.
“Now to me, that is certainly not what Prevent is intended to tackle. There is no indication that that type of activity would lead to extremist or terrorist behaviour.”
Prevent has been under sustained pressure, after senior MPs, the United Nations (UN), unions, and many Islamic groups claimed it unfairly targets Muslims and is even “racist”.
Matt O’Connor, founder of Fathers4Justice, told Breitbart London: “A teachers job is to teach, not act as Orwellian thought police.
“We now live in a country where militant feminists are lauded in the mainstream media for protesting at the Women’s March, yet protesting dads campaigning for parental equality are linked to extremism.”
He said his organisation is seeking clarification about potential referrals mentioned in Parliament, adding: “We are deeply concerned that Fathers4justice, a campaign which promotes parental equality, should in anyway be linked to extremism or the radicalisation of children.”
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has called for Prevent to be scrapped and the National Union of Students (NUS) says it is “racist” and has worked with Islamists to organise workshops instructing students how to “resist” the programme.
Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee described it as “toxic” and discriminatory towards Muslims. In April, the United Nations’ (UN) special rapporteur on the right to freedom of assembly intervened, claiming it created a “spectre of Big Brother”.
As pressure has mounted, the nature of referrals has begun to change. At the end of last year, one in ten referrals was said to have links to the “far-right” nationwide. In Yorkshire, “far-right” referrals account for nearly 50 per cent of the caseload, and 30 per cent of the caseload in the East Midlands.
In one case, a 15-year-old schoolboy, who thought “Muslim women shouldn’t be allowed to wear the niqab”, was identified as a potential terrorist and put through Prevent’s most strict de-radicalisation programme, Channel.