how are we to make sense of what shawcross is saying on prevent?

william shawcross prevent review

Broken reasoning, long silence, and possible violations of the right to religious expression may well be traits of the Shawcross Prevent review.

Leaks from the Shawcross review of Prevent say that “Prevent has failed”.

Case-based evidence shows that Prevent is not directly involved in preventing terrorism. Rather, it addresses ideas and behaviours that are said to be “indicators” of “risk”.

Because Prevent is an early intervention, there can be no evidence that it has successfully dissuaded anyone; indeed this is logically impossible to prove.

Similarly, when someone does not go on to commit a crime after a Prevent intervention, this cannot even in the furthest stretch of reasoning, be used to convince people of “success”.

Indeed, how can one measure “success” and “failure” when the programme itself targets people who are innocent in the law in the first place?

Recent leaks of the government’s review of Prevent led by William Shawcross suggest that  justifies his assertions that “Islam is the biggest threat” by citing recent attacks.

However, in all of the cases, the men who perpetrated these crimes had been identified as subjects of interests under Pursue, not Prevent.

If there are failures associated with the above tragic events, they are failures of the security services directly.

This fact has been proposed by lawyers representing the families at the Manchester Arena inquiry.

But Shawcross’ noise about Prevent has served to create a useful diversion. In fact, much of Prevent is just this – a diversion. And much of its justification, at this stage, is incoherent populist rhetoric.

Violence committed by Muslims tends to spike when Britain participates in bombing Muslim countries.

Currently we are experiencing a “low level of terrorism threat”, not because Prevent is succeeding or not succeeding (whatever your level of Islamophobia might be), but simply because the actual threats – that is Al Qaeda and Daesh – have also diminished.

The reason there are more “far-right” referrals under Prevent is because there is a rise in concern about “far right violence” due to recent incidents in other countries and in the UK.

We also know that the “far-right” is fueled by imagined threats (such as that of shari’a takeover in England), which is often fanned by the current government to justify policies like Prevent.

So, any attempt by the government to excuse or ignore the far-right is not based on accurate reasoning or fact. Rather, it is something else.

However, Shawcross’ review of Prevent will, it appears, make no mention of “far-right violence” as a problem; but even Prevent statistics show that this segment of “extremism” referrals have exceeded those referred for so-called “Islamist” ideology.

So, does this omission by Shawcross, not invalidate Prevent itself? If he won’t even consider the policy’s own statistics in his reasoning, where is his reasoning coming from?



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