Exclusive memo: Home Office denies spying on Muslims


by Sunny
23rd February, 2009 at 8:28 am    

I’ve gotten hold of an internal memo by Stephen Rimmer, the Home Office director of Prevent [Terrorism] and RICU (Office for Security and Counter-terrorism). It was sent in response to allegations made in the recent BBC Panorama programme that the Home Office was using the Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE) programmes as a front to infiltrate and spy on British Muslims.

I couldn’t copy and paste the text from the memo so you can just download it from here (PDF). Suffice to say they’re very worried by the allegations and deny them strenuously.

Given that, and the recent Guardian leak that there were plans to expand the definition of an ‘extremist’, I can see a whole range of PVE programmes going up in smoke. There’s no doubt groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK will use these for their propaganda. Are there any more ways this government want to screw up counter-terrorism? Maybe they could invade Saudi Arabia.


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Filed in: Muslim,Organisations,Terrorism






8 Comments below   |  

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  1. Watching Them, Watching Us — on 23rd February, 2009 at 12:03 pm  

    “I couldn’t copy and paste the text from the memo so you can just download it from here (PDF)”

    With the help of some Optical Character Recognition software:

    Home Office

    Stephen Rimmer Director of Prevent and RICU
    Office for Security & Counter Terrorism
    Room No: 6th Floor Peel, Mailpoint A NW Corner (secure area) 6th Floor Peel Building,
    2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF
    Switchboard 0402 Direct Line 020 7035 4652
    Mobile 07770 [Vodafone number]
    E-mail Stephen.Rimmer@homeoftice.gsi.gov.uk
    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk

    Our Ref
    Your Ref 17 February 2009

    ALLEGATIONS MADE IN THE PANORAMA PROGRAMME ‘MUSLIM FIRST – BRITISH SECOND’ ON MONDAY 16 FEBRUARY

    1. You may have seen the Panorama programme on Monday 16th January, which contained a number of untrue allegations, most seriously – that Prevent is being used as a front to spy on and infiltrate communities.

    2. While the programme did contain a Home Office statement rejecting these claims, I want to give you my unequivocal assurance – as the Senior Responsible Officer for Prevent – that any allegation that Prevent projects are a cover for spying on people is completely untrue.

    3. Ministers are clear that there is no hidden agenda in Prevent. Our long term objective is to stop people becoming or supporting terrorists. We cannot do this without working with communities to develop and sustain trust and mutual respect. The whole point of the Prevent Strategy, as you know, is to be open and transparent about the threat we are facing and how we are addressing it. We understand that goodwill and transparency between Government, police and communities arc indispensable to maintaining trust and we would not put these long established and hard earned relationships at risk.

    4. Prevent is not about criminalising or stigmatising vulnerable individuals. We want to support vulnerable individuals and help communities and projects intervene to divert them away from violent extremism before they become radicalised.

    5. The fact that Prevent is not a front for intelligence gathering is evident from the many Prevent projects in operation around the country and overseas. These are successful pro]ects led by dedicated and committed people who, very often, do not agree with aspects of Government policy, but are doing vital work nonetheless to build the resilience of communities and protect our young people from extremists.

    6. I am sure that these allegations will not jeopardise the excellent progress being made on Prevent by police, local authoritics and communities working together. Please accept my assurances and do not hesitate to pass this letter to colleagues who would 6nd it helpful.

    Yours

    Stephen Rimmer
    Director of Prevent and RICU

    WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC

    G:\My Documents\Word\Letters-09\panorama.doc

  2. Watching Them, Watching Us — on 23rd February, 2009 at 12:29 pm  

    Stephen Rimmer’s denials contradict the plans brought out by Hazel Blears (the former Home Office Minister in charge of the Prevent “strategy”), and her plans for “tension monitoring” by snooping amd intelligence gathering on and within “local communities”.

    See Hazel Blears and Sergeant Flanderka – “tension monitoring” i.e. snooping on local communities

  3. fug — on 23rd February, 2009 at 12:55 pm  

    his name is really Rimmer?

  4. MaidMarian — on 23rd February, 2009 at 1:03 pm  

    ‘I can see a whole range of PVE programmes going up in smoke.’

    Out of interest then, are you saying that you think that these programmes are, ‘a good thing,’ or are working?

    To my mind the fact that Panorama could make a programme titled, ‘muslim first – British second,’ suggests that they may be rather less than entirely sussessful? Or is the fact that that mindset exists just a total irrelevance?

  5. Sunny — on 23rd February, 2009 at 2:21 pm  

    a programme titled, ‘muslim first – British second,’

    What does the programme title have to do with anything?

    Is PVE successful? I think its too early to tell. I’ve seen/heard off some bad projects that are a waste of time, and I’ve heard of some good projects.

    For some people who want to help their communities get out of a rut it’s a help, on other times its money blown on frivolous stuff. So I can’t say definitively either way.

  6. Sunny — on 23rd February, 2009 at 2:21 pm  

    Oh, and thanks Spyblog!

  7. Leon — on 23rd February, 2009 at 3:15 pm  

    his name is really Rimmer?

    I had a ‘Red Dwarf moment’ upon reading his name…

  8. Iftikhar — on 23rd February, 2009 at 6:56 pm  

    Salaam

    Less than 5% of Muslim children attend Musslim schools while 96% attend state schools with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. They are exposed to racism in all walks of life by the fellow students as well as by the chicken racist teachers. The National Curriculum does not satisfy their needs and demands. They grow up to beecome angry, frustrated and extremist.

    Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a non-muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.

    Muslim schools performed best overall, although they constitute only a fraction of the country’s 7000 schools. Muslim schools do well because of their Islamic ethos and a focus on traditional discipline and teaching methods. They teach children what is right and what is wrong, because young children need structural guidance. No one paid any attention to the fact that none of the alleged attackers went to Muslim schools. They had not been brought up in religious families at all. They had gone to state schools, and had fully integrated and tasted and lived the ‘British way of life’ in many ways. They had only come to religion relatively late. The attackers were used as an excuse to target and demonise Muslim schools with no valid reason. This is the main reason why non-Muslims are hell bent upon eleminating Muslim

    There are hundreds of state and Church schools where Muslim children are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be designated a sMuslim Community schools.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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