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 governmentâ€™s approach to dealing with terrorism by targeting the whole Muslim community as â€˜potential terroristsâ€™ 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 governmentâ€™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 â€˜capacityâ€™ of Muslims to resist violent extremism and to build â€˜resilience.â€™ 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)
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Civil liberties,Muslim,Organisations,Terrorism