Muslim group warns government’s anti-terror strategy will back-fire
Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) is alarmed that the “muscular liberalism” of the government’s new ‘Prevent’ counter-terrorism strategy will prove disastrously counter-productive, not only undermining our security but leaving society more divided.
“Any counter-terrorism strategy that fails to acknowledge the link between foreign policy and terror is doomed to failure”, comments Tahir Shah, a spokesperson for MPACUK. MPACUK believe that the only effective way to tackle terror at its roots is to empower young Muslims to channel their legitimate grievances into productive efforts to create change through peaceful, democratic means.
Further concerns are raised by the fact that instead of focusing on tackling violent extremism the government’s strategy will be aimed at “non-violent extremism” – i.e. people they disagree with or whose views they find objectionable. This approach alienates and marginalises many Muslims whom the government should instead be regarding as key allies in combating violent extremism.
This takes Prevent in the direction of the ‘thought police’, with the government claiming a monopoly on defining both ‘extremism’ and ‘British values’. (If believing in ‘Shariah law’ may be defined as extremist and un-British we wonder where that leaves the Archbishop of Canterbury who famously proposed that aspects of Shariah could be integrated within the British legal system!) It is also indicative of gross double-standards when seen in the context of the complete failure to take effective action against the violent extremism of the English Defence League and other far right movements targeting Muslims.
The values we should be defending in any struggle against terrorism should surely include freedom of speech. We are also saddened to see the government prepared to undermine personal liberty and privacy, by encouraging universities, schools and even doctors to effectively spy on Muslims who are going about their lawful activities. Prevent was already a widely discredited strategy, regarded with suspicion and a total lack of credibility within the Muslim community – and today’s relaunch is a further step in the wrong direction.
For further details and comment please contact:
MPACUK media enquries line - 0870 760 5594
MPACUK is a grass roots campaign group run by young British Muslims with branches based in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford. MPACUK aims to empower British Muslims through active engagement in mainstream politics and media. www.mpacuk.org is Britain’s biggest Muslim website.
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