Cedar Riverside, credit Burhan Mohamud/arraweelo.wordpress.com
In Britain, the PREVENT counter-extremism programme is now being challenged academically and practically to the point that voices within the mainstream political spectrum are calling for it to be scrapped.
However, despite this policy failure, beyond Britain and in countries like Australia and the Unites States of America, the ideology of PREVENT is spreading like a virus.
There have been developments in Australia, where counter extremism policies are maintaining the discriminatory targeting of the Muslim minority. Australia is looking to ramp up its counter-extremism measures, both in a hard and soft capacity. The Australian measures will include the strongly-lambasted control orders to be used on individuals whom have not been convicted of a crime. Further those “high-risk extremists” whom have been convicted of a crime and have completed their prison sentence may be indefinitely detained. In other words, the rule of law is being decimated by disproportionate, authoritarian measures which will most likely be used majoritarily against Muslims.
It has reached a point where elements of the government, in their efforts to salvage whatever they can, are resorting obvious spin tactics. From seemingly planted stories (Sara Khan’s incredibly artificial efforts to sell PREVENT, her Home Office-approved book, along with vague success stories – which cannot be corroborated – to an incredibly welcoming media comes to mind), to sham select committee “reviews” of PREVENT, which far from questioning PREVENT’s basis, strengthened it, the methods demonstrate signs of desperate.
Despite these manoeuvres, there have been several key reports over the past few weeks which have indicated to the final throes of Britain’s PREVENT counter-extremism strategy.
The Home Affairs Select Committee report on counter extremism (“Radicalisation: the counter-narrative and identifying the tipping point”) was never meant to be more than a theatrical designed to stem the gaining momentum tearing apart Britain’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda. The momentum against PREVENT, constituted of Muslims on the ground, countless academics and a number of unions required arresting. The tactic was to take control of this spiralling situation through a “review” where there is token acceptance of issues that are then carefully spun away and the course set upon by neoconservatives in collectively punishing the Muslim psyche through the neo-imperialist CVE project is resumed.
The evidence for the effort to maintain the course of PREVENT is evident from the way the review was framed:
“Our concern was that families and communities were being deeply affected by recruitment of young men and women to fight in Iraq and Syria. We therefore decided to examine the Government’s strategy for tackling extremism to assess whether it is effective and reaches the members of society who are most vulnerable to radicalisation.”
Implicit within the above statement is the focus on the singular “pathway” to political violence: “extremism”. When the report’s author aver that they sought to examine the “major drivers of, and risk factors for recruitment to terrorist movements” – this analysis is firmly limited to the dominant pro-Israel/neoconservative-designed lens of ideology and extremism.