UK’s counter-terrorism Forestall scheme ‘now not match for function’, says adviser | Forestall technique



The counter-terrorism Forestall programme, which has been dogged by claims of being a canopy to spy on Muslim communities, is “now not match for function” and ought to be “ideologically blind”, a authorities adviser has stated.

The controversial technique is at present the topic of a assessment by Sir William Shawcross, with leaks suggesting it can conclude that Forestall has been too targeted on rightwing extremism lately. As an alternative, there ought to be a renewed concentrate on Islamist extremism, prompting accusations that the findings had been politically motivated, the leaks present.

Chatting with Nick Robinson on the BBC’s Political Pondering podcast, Dame Sara Khan, who has been accused prior to now of being a mouthpiece for the House Workplace, stated the UK’s counter-terrorism method is “fully outdated, it’s now not match for function”.

The previous counter-extremism commissioner, who now advises the levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, on social cohesion, stated: “Good coverage must be ideologically blind …. There’s far proper, Islamist, Sikh, there’s Hindu nationalism, there’s all several types of extremism, there’s far left, for instance. You’ve obtained to take care of all of these kinds of issues and solely attempting to concentrate on one on the expense of others is completely counterproductive.”

She additionally expressed concern about “incel” ideology, which some consider motivated Jake Davison, the 22-year-old who gunned down seven folks, killing 5, in a rampage in Plymouth final 12 months. Final 12 months was the primary time the variety of referrals to Forestall referring to far-right extremism exceeded these for Islamist radicalisation. Referrals for far-right threats from the Forestall programme to Channel, which gives extra intensive intervention, had already outstripped Islamist radicalisation since 2019-2020.

Khan stated that Muslims’ distrust of Forestall had been fuelled by the federal government’s failure to elucidate its function. “They didn’t exit and clarify to Muslim communities what Forestall is about,” she stated. “In essence, they left a vacuum [which Islamists stepped into] … I believe having that engagement, persevering with to have interaction with communities, explaining what the programme is, addressing issues, I believe that’s obtained to proceed in a significantly better approach than we’ve seen beforehand.”

When Khan was appointed to guide the newly fashioned Fee for Countering Extremism in 2018, critics included the previous Tory chairwoman Sayeeda Warsi, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Labour MP Naz Shah.

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Khan informed the BBC that the feedback by Warsi, who described her as being seen by many as “a creation of and mouthpiece for the House Workplace”, in addition to not linked to British Muslims, had been “ludicrous”.

She stated she was clear that there was “real hatred” in opposition to Muslims within the UK however that Islamic extremists had exploited Islamophobia.

“We all know that there’s discrimination in opposition to Muslims within the office and so forth,” she stated. “Nevertheless, having stated that, I’m additionally very conscious that there are Islamist teams on this nation who’ve adopted the language of Islamophobia to make use of it as a canopy for Islamist extremism … So for instance, when Islamist teams say if I speak otherwise you speak and condemn Islamist extremism and now we’re instantly labelled Islamophobic, that’s completely and totally unacceptable. And what that’s attempting to do is definitely silence dissent, it’s truly making a local weather of censorship and worry.”

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