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UK deradicalisation program a massive fail

By Russell Grenning - posted Thursday, 21 June 2018

The boy was required to spend time with an imam, visit Islamic mosques and attend what was described as a multi-faith project.

Remarkably, it was the police who provided these and other details about this white boy to the media in response to criticism that they were unfairly targeting Muslims.

The West Yorkshire police officer who is the regional coordinator for Prevent said there had recently been a renewed focus on what he described as the far-right.


A very prominent British lawyer, who until recently was Chief Executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, told The Times that Islamist Muslim groups and community leaders hindered the fight against terror because they were only interested in presenting Muslims "as victims". Predictably, he has copped a lot of criticism - even open abuse - from leading Muslims.

But Nazir Afzal is a practising Muslim himself, the son of Pakistani immigrants. He has also served as the first Muslim Chief Prosecutor and took successful action against Muslims charged with serious crimes. He resigned from the Police and Crime Commissioners Association when they tried to stop him from speaking out.

Mr Afzal took aim at "self-appointed" Muslim community leaders whose sole agenda was, he said, to present Muslims "as victims and not as those who are potentially becoming radicals." He singled out the UK's largest Muslim umbrella group, the Muslim Council of Britain, for special criticism in this regard. He says that there is an "industry" of Muslim groups essentially making any excuse for anything any Muslim has done or might do.

Naturally, any non-Muslim who made such comments would attract a storm of criticism and, probably, be dammed as a far-right racist but it is hard - if not impossible - to level those charges against Mr Afzal although some apologists for extremists have labelled him a puppet for the far-right. That amuses him rather than upsets him.

Criticism of Prevent has extended to the government's own backbench. Conservative MP Ms Lucy Allen presented a Private Members Bill asking for an independent external review of Prevent saying that the so-called strategy was causing "increased level of concern" and that there was now a "level of disquiet that it would be wrong to ignore."

"Prevent as a concept, as a strategy to draw people away from terrorism, is not working. The problem is the way in which communities most affected by Prevent is that it is driving a wedge between authority and the community," Ms Allen said.


Entirely predictably, she was slapped down by Security Minister Ben Wallace said "Prevent is working. That's why I back Prevent. I'm passionate about it."

"If only I could tell you the successes," he complained to a journalist as if he was being prevented from doing so. Now here is something new - a government minister not wanting to boast about his and his government's alleged successes. The fact is that the only thing stopping him is himself.

And all of those clever anti-terrorism experts who think that Prevent is simply wonderful have come up with another breathtaking concept in the fight against terrorism - a project that is dubbed Operation Constrain.

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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