Searching online for MPACUK’s Raza Nadim could flag children up as potential terrorists, it has been revealed.
The student-monitoring software highlights if children are at risk of “radicalisation” based on their online activity
MPACUK spokesman, Raza Nadim, is listed as an “extremist individual” on the software.
The “radicalisation keywords” library has been developed to help schools comply with new duties requiring them to monitor children for “extremism”, as part of the government’s Prevent counterterrorism strategy.
The keywords list consists of more than 1,000 trigger terms including “apostate”, “jihadi” and “Islamism”, and accompanying definitions.
Phrases specifically associated with online propaganda produced by ISIS such as YODO (You Only Die Once) and Message to America are also included, as well as some associated with far-right doctrine. It also includes the names of groups and individuals defined as “terrorists or extremists”.
Raza Nadim said the software and the Prevent strategy raised worrying questions about the limits of acceptable political dissent and activism for Muslims opposed to government policy.
“This is a worrying development because if MPACUK – an organisation that is staunchly anti-racist, anti-sectarian, pro-mosque reform and advocates Muslims get involved in the mainstream democratic process – are referred to as ‘extremists’ then what does that mean for others?
“Are we called ‘extremist’ simply because we disagree with the Government and Quilliam when it comes to Prevent and the ‘War on Terror’? Is that the only criteria? Which other Muslims are on the Quilliam list? How was this list compiled?
“To say that an organisation like MPACUK is extremist, just because the government hears some things that it doesn’t like, is worrying because it means we have gone down a road where ‘1984’ is no longer a warning – it is a manual for this government.”
MPACUK are now calling on the public to speak out against this monitoring of children and smearing of Muslim activists as “extremists”.
They say it is important to put pressure on Quilliam and Impero because our children should not be viewed through the lens of the ‘War on Terror.’
They are urging people to contact Impero and Quilliam to ask:
- Which other Muslim activists are labelled as “extremists” on the software?
- Can they explain the rationale & evidence used to compile these keywords?
In June it was reported that the so-called “anti-extremism think-tank” Quilliam Foundation had developed a new software that will help teachers spy on school kids’ potentially “extremist online activity.”
Quilliam Foundation, which is headed by Maajid Nawaz, is widely viewed within the Muslim community as an organisation which promotes Islamophobia and neocon values under the guise of fighting extremism.#
Jonathan Russell, political liaison officer at Quilliam Foundation, said: “The internet has made it easy for young people to access extreme or radical material. While measures such as the UK government’s Prevent Strategy already existed, it’s now clear that more needs to be done to counter radicalisation early on.
“Protecting young people from the dangers of radicalisation requires positive online counter-extremism, and empowering teachers with technology like Impero’s keyword library is an important part of this process.”
Sally-Ann Griffiths, of Impero Software, which designed the program, added: “With a widely reported increase in the number of children being radicalised, it’s vital that schools put measures in place to prevent pupils coming to harm online.
“By defining terms such as ‘yodo’, a phrase used by jihadist sympathisers meaning ‘you only die once’, the glossary gives teachers, who are part of the solution to the problem, the tools they need to identify, intervene and safeguard at-risk pupils.”
The Counter Terrorism and Security Act, which became law in February, puts a responsibility on schools to prevent youngsters falling into the clutches of extemist groups. And Prime Minister David Cameron says schools must also actively promote “British values” and will be judged by the schools’ watchdog Ofsted on how well they teach them.
But the National Union of Teachers has expressed fears this could lead to debate on contentious issues being shut down.