Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Proving My Point on Prevent

Earlier in the week I argued that the Prevent strategy should be scrapped. The main reason was that the State should not be in the businesses of funding one idea over another or trying to encourage its citizens to adopt one set of beliefs over any other. However, I also made the more practical point that Prevent can never do what it hopes to do.

Prevent hopes to give funding to groups that oppose Islamism in the hope that these groups will discourage the growth of Islamic extremism in the UK. It seems to me that this can never work because any organisation receiving money from the British State will be ignored and shunned by anyone who harbours ill-feeling towards the British State.

Engage (the Islamist group) has a piece today that underlines this point. Talking about the Quilliam Foundation (an Islamic group set up to fight against Islamic extremism) they say:

As ENGAGE readers will be well aware, Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation have been funded by the Home Office and the Foreign Office to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds to help promote the idea that violent extremism is the result of 'Islamist ideology' and of course has nothing whatsoever to do with our own violent warmongering policies abroad. The Quilliam Foundation are openly regarded with utter contempt and derision by UK Muslims...
Is there any point funding a group to tackle extremism in the Muslim communities when the very act of funding them undermines their ability to do the tackling?