People’s review of Prevent launched to ‘give voice to victims’

Many Muslim organisations consider Prevent to be a spying and monitoring exercise

A “people’s review” of the government’s controversial Prevent counter-extremism policy has been launched.

Prevent Watch says the review will place the people most impacted by the programme at the centre and will provide an alternative to the government’s own review led by the right-winger Willam Shawcross.

The people’s review will also provide a platform for the 550 organisations and individuals who committed to a boycott of the Shawcross-led review.

The Prevent Duty is a government programme that aims to support “vulnerable” people from being “drawn into terrorism.” But Muslim organisations, as well as many academics, unionists, human rights groups and even the United Nations, say it discriminates against Muslims.

Professor John Holmwood will co-chair the review alongside Dr Layla Aitlhadj. He was a key expert witness and analyst in the “Trojan Horse” trials and an author of a book documenting accusations of Islamification involving Birmingham schools.

Dr Aitlhadj is the Director and a Senior Case Worker at Prevent Watch, which has provided support to nearly 600 complainants/cases about Prevent.

They will be supported by a panel of expert advisors from academia, legal and other sectors.

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William Shawcross Pic: Gov.UK

The call for submissions is here.

Dr Layla Aitlhadj said: “This is the first and historic community grassroots led review of the Prevent programme which placed the people most impacted by the prevent programme at the centre of this review.

“This government has a poor record of delivering independent meaningful reviews. The recent reviews on race and Islamophobia have been a complete whitewash. The Shawcross-led review is expected to be the same.

“Hundreds of organisations and individuals have recently pledged to boycott the Shawcross-led review in a huge show of no-confidence. This review is a much needed opportunity to hear the voices and from those who boycott the Shawcross-led review and people and families most impacted by the Prevent programme.

“Under the advice of our expert panel and with my co-chair John Holmwood, we will be using this evidence, together with testimonies Prevent Watch has already gathered from almost 600 individuals, to produce a more legitimate review of Prevent.”

Professor John Holmwood, Emeritus Professor at Nottingham University, said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as a co-chairperson of this review. It is long overdue. The current Shawcross review has little credibility in the eyes of those who feel the true impact of Prevent in their homes, schools and workplaces.

“The People’s Review will provide a robust analysis of the impact of Prevent, by providing a forum for gathering over a decade’s worth of legitimate concerns that have thus far been raised and ignored in each previous review of Prevent – each review having only served to reinforce and expand Prevent’s harms.

“We are presenting an opportunity for people and communities to be heard and their experiences to be documented. This is a programme which has had a far-reaching impact on individuals and communities, and is claimed to polarise Britain’s plural society.”

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