‘Prevent’ is a government initiative ostensibly aimed at stopping the rise of ‘extremism’ and the radicalisation of young people through monitoring processes in schools and Universities. In principle, the current government, and its predecessors that introduced the programme have argued that Prevent is intended to tackle all aspects of political extremism and radicalisation and is not intended to specifically target any group of people or individual belief systems or ideologies.
However, we believe there is significant evidence that this is not the case, and that the legislation itself is directly and disproportionately impacting upon Muslims and leading to their victimisation and harassment on campuses across the country. The shift in focus of Prevent in the recent counter-extremism bill from violent to non-violent ‘extremism’ is particularly worrying and risks clamping down on divergent views, religious practices and beliefs not deemed ‘moderate’ as well as campus activism.
That is why we are joining with the National Union of Students and opposing the Prevent agenda and seeking to raise awareness of the Prevent initiative at UEA and the rights of students in relation to it, as well building networks of students to resist Islamophobia on campus.