Bristol lecturer: Why anti-extremist 'Prevent strategy' harms integration rather than helps it
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
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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