The Muslim Council of Britain’s deputy secretary general Harun Khan says Britain’s “Prevent” anti-terrorism strategy is actually “pushing young Muslims… towards radical groups.”
BBC News reports that Prevent is part of Britain’s “broader counter terrorism strategy” and is designed to “stop people [from] becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.”
Khan says Prevent has made many young Muslims feel as if “a target” were on them “and the institutions they associate with.” In this way, he said Prevent has “actually failed” and leaves young Muslims “vulnerable to radicalization.”
He also said Prevent made young Muslims feel “they could not express their views” when something in the media’s reporting on Muslims bothered them. Khan suggested Prevent has created an environment where young Muslims believe the British government only wants “to engage with people whose views match their own.”
In June 2011 the British government released an in-depth review of the Prevent strategy, which included a re-focusing of the strategy to deal with “extremism” in all its forms. The review found that certain, “unfocused” aspects of the strategy had floundered in the past, but it asserted that Prevent had “generally been productive.”
At the time of that review, the government made clear that Prevent was focused on “all forms of terrorism” and not simply Islamist terrorism or terrorism promoted by Al Qaeda. But the review did point out that the greatest danger posed to the UK at that time was from Al Qaeda “and groups and individuals who share the violent Islamist ideology associated with it.”
The British government describes Prevent as one of the central elements of CONTEST, which is its overarching “counter-terrorism strategy.”
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