Bristol lecturer: Why anti-extremist 'Prevent strategy' harms integration rather than helps it

Tony Gosling tony at
Fri Dec 9 13:44:21 GMT 2016

Why the Prevent strategy is harming integration 
rather than helping it in Bristol's communities
By Michael_Yong  |  Posted: December 07, 2016
This week, the Casey Review showed segregation in 
Britain is at "worrying levels".
Integration is an important part of any society, 
but are we going about it the wrong way? 
Education reporter Michael Yong argues why the 
Prevent Strategy actually splits a community, rather than brings it together.
There have been many reports – including in this 
newspaper – about the increase in hate crime after the Brexit vote.
I think most people would agree with me that it 
came as no surprise, and that's sad.
The Casey Review – ordered by then Prime Minister 
David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May – 
showed the high levels of segregation in many parts of the country.
As part of the review, experts from Bristol were 
asked their opinions about the Government's 
counter-extremism strategy, and it was damning.
Dr Saffron Karlsen, from Bristol University, said 
it had been ineffective and could make things 
worse by "exacerbating isolation" and "reducing cooperation".
Those are not words you want to hear when you are 
trying to bring together a community of people from different backgrounds.
Part of the Government's counter-extremism 
strategy was the Prevent agenda – which was set 
up after the September 11 attacks.
But in its early days, there was a lack of 
direction with regards to the strategy. Was it 
about al-Qaeda? Is it about having more 
intelligence experts? Or was it actually about education?
In the last few years, that was where funding 
went – education. Millions were pumped into 
schools for them to hold Prevent sessions, where 
police officers talk to children about the dangers of radicalisation.
Schools are a microcosm of the community they 
serve – what parents do, children nearly always copy.
Things came to a head two years ago, when a young 
girl named Yusra Hussien ran away from her 
Bristol home and went to Turkey. Police 
intelligence suggested she might have then moved 
to Syria to become a terror bride, after promises of a glamorous life.
Education about extremism and radicalisation is important, but not this way.
There are huge problems with the Prevent agenda 
in schools, mostly because it stigmatises Muslims.
Last year, teachers were told to alert the 
authorities if students portrayed signs of 
extremism. While it was good intentioned, that 
move by the Government became widely ridiculed by 
education experts and teaching groups.
I have been given the opportunity to sit in 
Prevent classes. Make no mistake – the officers 
who lead the sessions and teachers who support them are fantastic.
But these classes can also be highly divisive. 
How are you supposed to tell a child they have to 
attend a Prevent class because they are from an 
ethnic minority, or because they are Muslim?
Read more: Bristol councils stand firm on rules 
about taking pupils out of school during term time for holidays
What are they supposed to tell their friends?
Why are British Muslims – who were born and grew 
up here – having to learn about British values?
And why does nearly every conversation we have 
about integration centred only around Muslims?
If anything, the Prevent strategy stigmatises 
Muslims. It makes them out to be potential 
terrorists and violent. In the worst cases, it 
segregates them, making them feel isolated and different.
That is very wrong. Most Muslims are kind 
hearted, peace-loving and incredibly selfless people.
Read the Casey Review, and I would challenge you 
to think she was talking about any other groups of people.
These strategies – to use the Government's jargon 
– that are based on assumptions there is a lack 
of integration will make things worse.
Dame Casey talks about educating immigrant 
children, making sure they take an 'integration 
oath' – what the hell is that?! – and be taught British values in schools.
Maybe it's time we stopped talking about 
educating those who are different to us, so they 
can be like us. That is such a narrow-minded way of thinking.
Let's instead educate ourselves – so we can 
better understand our neighbours and the 
diversity they bring – and then maybe, we can 
truly have integration in our communities.

Read more at 

So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish 
participation in Bormann companies that when 
Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv 
to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the 
Jewish and German communities of Buenos Aires. 
Jewish leaders informed the Israeli authorities 
in no uncertain terms that this must never happen 
again because a repetition would permanently 
rupture relations with the Germans of Latin 
America, as well as with the Bormann 
organization, and cut off the flow of Jewish 
money to Israel. It never happened again, and the 
pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of 
these Jewish leaders. He is residing in an 
Argentinian safe haven, protected by the most 
efficient German infrastructure in history as 
well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being.
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