Twitter talk and feverish Facebook frenzy over the newly announced Commission for Counter Extremism (CCE) has continued for the past few days, but perhaps disproportionately for the wrong reasons. The government’s announcement of the Commission came alongside the announcement of the lead commissioner Sara Khan of Inspire, a self-styled feminist who counters “extremism” has triggered vociferous responses in the media. MEND led a petition against her appointment and whilst it opens with a question as to why the Commission is necessary, it goes onto attack Khan on the condition of it existing, rendering the opening statement somewhat incidental. Mend CEO Shazad Amin also centred on Khan, reinforcing this perception.
There are certainly problems with Khan (these will be elaborated upon in a subsequent, detailed piece), however, they are an extension of far more important concerns that need to be raised.
Those promoting PREVENT are getting desperate, it seems. Sources in Birmingham forwarded a letter from Waverley School (Birmingham) directed to parents, stating that the school will participate in a BBC Panorama documentary promoting PREVENT. The letter reads that the BBC programme will “showcase some of the excellent work we do around Safeguarding and the Prevent Duty”. The film crew will be in the school tomorrow (25th November) and requests the parents to fill in a consent form.
Letter to parents
BBC Consent Form
The below comments by CAGE on the Home Affairs Select committee report on PREVENT make for an imperative read. I will be posting my thoughts on this soon too.
The Home Affairs Select Committee report into radicalisation has rightly recognised the toxicity of PREVENT. Yet, instead of scrapping the failed policy, it only proposes a rebranded version of it, named ENGAGE. This programme seeks to implicate community organisations in order to gain a veneer of credibility, while the underpinning premises of PREVENT are left firmly intact.
It is an attempt to force the Muslim community to take ownership of the problem of political violence, while at the same time reinforcing the good Muslim, bad Muslim dichotomy, with the government’s overarching narrative as the determining factor. Ironically, the report refers to and quotes non-independent organisations who are state sponsored as outlined in our report “We are Completely Independent”, and gives them a semblance of legitimacy.