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UK's 'Prevent' program legitimises racist attitudes towards Muslims

March 1, 2023 at 2:23 pm

UK’s Middlesex University [Wikipedia]

UK’s anti-radicalisation strategy legitimises racist attitudes towards Muslims, while creating self-censorship in public, according to an expert, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Speaking to Anadolu, Tarek Younis, a senior lecturer at the University of Middlesex in London, said the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation program “Prevent” legitimises racist attitudes, especially towards Muslims.

“Prevent” is the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation program. There have long been calls for an independent review by opponents of the program who claim it discriminates against Muslims.

“In 2015, it became a duty on public bodies to identify and report individuals they suspect might be vulnerable to radicalisation, might be vulnerable to becoming terrorists in the future,” he said, adding it prompted many ethical issues such as ethics of data sharing.

Younis said that, if someone asks a random person on the street whether he or she supports all programs to prevent violence, the answer will be “yes”, while the right question would be “do you trust your doctor or psychiatrist to be able to distinguish whether Muslims are extremists?”

“It (Prevent program) certainly legitimises racist attitudes, especially towards Muslims,” ​​noted Younis, who focuses on psychology, culture, race and religion issues.

He went on to say that the Prevent policy is problematic from its inception — it’s problematic how it’s been deployed, how it legitimises certain attitudes.

“The whole thing is a giant fiasco,” he stressed.

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Younis also said “the idea of ​​someone who might become vulnerable to becoming a terrorist has very particular racialised connotations,” adding that this is an idea of ​​self-censorship that particularly affects Muslims.

“It gives this atmosphere that speaking out against Prevent or criticising Prevent is almost akin to as if you’re supporting terrorism or you’re closing your eyes toward terrorism.”

He underlined much research has demonstrated that self-censorship is reality among students who are afraid of sharing their opinions when they know the Prevent policy is in place.

“Prevent is a national safeguarding program that supports people who are at risk of becoming involved with terrorism through radicalisation,” according to the British government.