The European Council has joined the chorus of opposition to the UK’s anti-terror and de-radicalisation programmes, claiming they are “fomenting fear and resentment… particular in the Muslim community”.In a highly critical report, an Advisory Committee of Eurocrats said: “Work on integration appears to be jeopardised by certain aspects of counter-terrorism policy and anti-extremism/anti-radicalisation programmes, such as Prevent and Channel.”
Prevent and Channel target “individuals at risk of being drawn into violent extremism” and terrorism and were launched after the 7/7 London bombings.
Since then, the UK has not suffered a major attack. But European nations, which do not have similar initiatives, have suffered numerous deadly attacks costing hundreds of innocent lives.
However, according to the European Council, the ‘perception’ of Prevent is more important.
“These measures are perceived by interlocutors as a general regression in the protection of individual rights, which may disproportionately affect children belonging to national and ethnic minorities,” they write.
Such interlocutors include the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which has called for it to be scrapped, and the hard-left National Union of Students (NUS), who say it is “racist” and has worked with Islamists to organise workshops instructing students how to “resist” the programmes.
The Muslim Council of Britain (which is linked to pro-Caliphate Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood) and CAGE (the Muslim rights group which called Jihadi John a “beautiful young man”) are also fierce opponents of Prevent.
The perception that the initiatives “disproportionately” target ethnic minorities and Muslims has also been challenged.
Despite the vast majority of terror attacks and plots in the UK being linked to radical Islam, the report itself recognises that 57 per cent of those referred to the police for de-radicalisation since April 2012 were Muslim.
Furthermore, until January, one in ten referrals had links to the “far-right” nationwide. In Yorkshire, “far-right” referrals accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the caseload, and 30 per cent of the caseload in the East Midlands.
Detective Superintendent Nik Adams, the North East regional coordinator for Prevent, said in January there was a renewed focus on the “far-right”.
He conceded the “far-right” was predominantly known for street protests and damaging “community cohesion”, rather than terrorism, but said things had changed since the murder of Joe Cox MP by a Nazi sympathiser in June.
In December, Chief Constable Simon Cole, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman for Prevent, said Prevent was “absolutely fundamental” to Britain’s counter-terrorism efforts.
He said: “Some of those that criticise, criticise perceptions of Prevent rather than what it is. This is not about people who are suspected of terror offences. This is about people who community members have concerns about and need help.”