More criticism for Preventing Violent Extremism


by Sunny
23rd February, 2009 at 3:26 pm    

The Al-Nisa Society (a Muslim women’s group) has issued a report criticising the PVE programme.

The vast majority of Muslims are against violent extremism and terrorism and would like to help to counteract it. They are as appalled by violent extremism as anyone else and reject any justification that it can be condoned by Islamic teachings. However, the government’s approach to dealing with terrorism by targeting the whole Muslim community as ‘potential terrorists’ in its Prevent Strategy is flawed and fraught with perils. We believe that rather than creating community cohesion and eliminating terrorism it has the potential to create discord and inflame community tensions.

Furthermore, we believe this unprecedented strategy constitutes an infringement of civil liberties and human rights. There is a danger that PVE is becoming a well-funded industry with vested interests.

Our concern is that political considerations and frictions that have nothing to do with the Muslim community or the hundreds of people who, like us, have been working on the ground for decades are obstructing the vital work of producing communities at peace with themselves and each other. As an organisation with extensive experience of working for the welfare of Muslim families we are seriously concerned about the implications of the Prevent strategy and how it is impacting in local Muslim communities.

In this paper we intend to highlight why we believe the government’s approach towards its Muslim community is flawed and will offer constructive recommendations as to what the government should be doing.

Although they somewhat assume they know what’s in the best interests of all British Muslims, I think the points made are quite spot on. In the Executive Summary of the report, they also criticise the overall strategy:

The strategy is confusing and unclear. It aims, for example, to strengthen the ‘capacity’ of Muslims to resist violent extremism and to build ‘resilience.’ Whatever that means is open to differing understandings. At one level, the euphemistic and vague terminology serves the purpose of getting the strategy past the Muslim community with little protest. The loose definitions also leave the strategy open to interpretation at the risk of being counter productive. It gives officers substantial leeway in implementation with no accountability to Muslims, who are the subject of it.

The government is giving responsibility to ill equipped local authorities to wade into a highly sensitive area when most have limited experience and understanding of Muslims to properly identify the risk of terrorism. There is a great potential for blunders, which could destroy lives.

As I’ve said earlier, I’m still ambivalent about the PVE project because I’ve seen some good work (disclosure: I’ve also been part of a project myself) and seen some examples of waste of money. Furthermore, the pot is encouraging some Muslim ‘entrepreneurs’ to come forward and create projects while pretending they know what they’re doing. And they get away with it by accusing others of not being Muslim enough to bid for the money.

Unless some accountability is brought into this programme, it will collapse under its own failings.

You can download the Al Nisa report from here (PDF)


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Muslim,Organisations,Terrorism






15 Comments below   |  

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  1. Leon — on 23rd February, 2009 at 4:21 pm  

    (disclosure: I’ve also been part of a project myself)

    Which one?

  2. platinum786 — on 23rd February, 2009 at 4:45 pm  

    The suggestions;

    1. Rethink its strategy towards the Muslim community. It should cease dealing with the whole Muslim community through the prism of anti-terrorism but rather as citizens who need the support of their government and through mainstream
    strategies.

    2. Cease linking community cohesion and community development to counter terrorism. This approach risks de-legitimising much needed community building of
    the Muslim community. Security measures should be separate and distinct so that there is no doubt as to their objectives.

    3. Promote the mainstreaming of initiatives targeting Muslims as a socially excluded community, as separate and distinct from PVE, and make it core business. Prioritise community development, community cohesion, social inclusion and capacity building for the Muslim community through the mainstream. Set targets in strategies and plans both nationally and locally so that progress can be monitored.

    4. Prioritise addressing Islamophobia and Institutional anti-Muslim discrimination (Islamophobia) within mainstream agencies such as within central government, local authorities, health services, police and others.

    5. Facilitate the building of local infrastructure in the Muslim community through, for example, the development of a Muslim voluntary sector that will cater for a wide variety of Muslims needs. The voluntary sector will then have the capacity to
    formulate itself into community-led grassroots local advocacy and consultative forums and eventually national representative bodies. Such a programme will
    provide tangible relief to distressed local Muslim communities and directly affect their quality of life, increase engagement and give people a stake in society as citizens and not as ‘pariahs.’ This will enable the Muslim community to take the lead on its own issues and concerns and engage on an equal basis.

    6. Bring together Britain’s diverse communities to work to address the wider issues that are affecting all of us including what is causing large numbers of young people, from different communities, to feel hostile and alienated from society.

    A bit vague don’t you think?

    I mean I can comprehend the english, but what does it all mean? how do you do any of the things they’ve suggested should be done. A nice bullet point list would have been better.

  3. Niels C — on 23rd February, 2009 at 4:51 pm  

    “Prioritise addressing Islamophobia and Institutional anti-Muslim discrimination (Islamophobia) within mainstream agencies such as within central government, local authorities, health services, police and others” –

    What about the other way around ?

  4. Ed — on 23rd February, 2009 at 5:49 pm  

    Good article, but this last point

    “Furthermore, the pot is encouraging some Muslim ‘entrepreneurs’ to come forward and create projects while pretending they know what they’re doing. And they get away with it by accusing others of not being Muslim enough to bid for the money.”

    with the 5 points for “extremism” being linked to funding asmentioned in a previous post –

    i think the issue is people will be “too Muslim” to get the funding and not vice versa

  5. Om — on 23rd February, 2009 at 5:59 pm  

    “Facilitate the building of local infrastructure in the Muslim community through, for example, the development of a Muslim voluntary sector that will cater for a wide variety of Muslims needs… This will enable the Muslim community to take the lead on its own issues and concerns and engage on an equal basis.”

    Um…..

  6. Jai — on 23rd February, 2009 at 6:06 pm  

    4. Prioritise addressing Islamophobia and Institutional anti-Muslim discrimination (Islamophobia)

    Telling Anjem Choudhary and his cohorts to shut the hell up would probably be a good idea, for a start.

  7. Sunny — on 23rd February, 2009 at 7:29 pm  

    Yeah I don’t think they’ve explained everything in the document, though I suspect if you had a chat with them this could be explained more. It probably requires some sort of a panel discussion to bring out some of these issues.

    Also, I agree on Om’s worry – the whole point of a voluntary civic sector is that it is self-sustaining and funded. Otherwise its just PVE money flowing in different guises.

    Leon, can’t say :P

  8. inders — on 23rd February, 2009 at 7:38 pm  

    I had some CTU officers turn up for a talk at my workplace last week. Lovely chaps on a personal basis but the strategy is wrong.

    I actually did point out that they’re not going to get Muslim people involved to be simply talked at like potential terrorists.

    Theres no way I would personally refer community people I work with onto the police with that agenda. I’d come out looking like a ****head.

  9. dave bones — on 23rd February, 2009 at 10:25 pm  

    …and will offer constructive recommendations as to what the government should be doing.

    something to look forward to

  10. Sofia — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:25 am  

    I have worked with an nisa in the past and although the organisation has many faults..(like most organisations).it has been doing lots of really good work. They were talking about this whole Muslim communities work 15 years ago..maybe these stupid politicians should have been listening to them instead of the local mosques that have done jack shit for local muslim communities apart from ‘allow’ them some place to pray…
    I’m also working with local muslim women as part of the whole pve umbrella and most if not all of us think the use of terminology like ‘pve’ is completely counter productive…but since when has government ever used the ‘right’ terminology…it’s the work that is being carried out that is important…

  11. fug — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:33 am  

    Anybody who touches PVE money has lowered themselves. They should solve their funding problem themselves, not cheat in order that they may be both socially inbred and suited and booted.

    PVE is intended to further corrupt muslim organisational culture in this country. Kudos to the real heroes who are totally blanking it.

  12. Sofia — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:37 am  
  13. Sofia — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:37 am  

    Fug…well each to their own i suppose.

  14. Sofia — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:38 am  

    further corrupt muslim organisational …hahahaha…i reckon maulvis from back home and retired pakistani men started the ball rolling on that one

  15. Sid — on 24th February, 2009 at 10:46 am  

    Sofia, yes exactly. As if “Muslims” as a bloc were pure as the driven snow when they arrived on these shores and have become progressively more corrupt on exposure to government funding and modern kitchen appiances.

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