The secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has denied that his organisation is planning to set up an “alternative Prevent” counter terrorism programme.
Harun Khan made the comments in a Facebook post following a story in The Guardian on Friday which led advocacy group CAGE to say that it opposes any attempts to resurrect or re-brand Prevent or put it in the hands of Muslim organisations.
Khan said the MCB did not know that the article was about to be published and that some Muslims have launched a campaign to defame the MCB and its work.
He wrote: “Some individuals on Twitter even went as far as creating a cartoon of me serving tea to the Prime Minister and calling me a Chaiwalla. Well my only response to them would be to refer them to verse 11 of Sura Hujurat (O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers).
Khan added: “Some have decided to write blogs and opinion pieces on how the approach of MCB is wrong and trying to get in with the establishment to the detriment of our communities, all coming on the back of the same Guardian article without any real research as to the extensive work that MCB has done over the years in engaging with various grassroot organisations, academics and civil society organisations.
“Firstly let me state clearly that MCB is NOT proposing an alternative to Prevent. Anyone can do a simple google search and find numerous news stories and interviews where we have been a vocal opponent of the Prevent strategy which has been a complete failure from day one.
“Since the establishment and policymakers are not paying attention to the widespread criticism and opposition to Prevent the MCB with its affiliates (all names listed on our website) decided to carry out a national consultation or listening exercise in November 2015 so that we could provide an informative and evidence based response to the government. We are only halfway through this process but the findings of the discussion and the key resolutions have been on our website for over a year now.
“There is no secret plan by MCB to create an alternative to Prevent or rebrand it. We will continue with this listening exercise over the coming months and present the findings in 2017. The government may choose to listen or not but everyone can play a part by using the information provided by MCB to lobby their local MPs to put pressure on them to oppose this discriminatory strategy.”