29 Apr 2009

Spending money to radicalise young Muslims

The collapse of the case against the alleged 7/7 bomb accomplices coincided with a meeting I attended yesterday of community leaders.

The Muslims amongst them were warning that relations are becoming very strained, and they fear that government policy – in particular, the continued existence of the Prevent programme – is radicalising many young Muslims.

These leaders told me that the whole scheme created divisions between Islamic groupings, raised suspicions, provoked dangerous compromises, and worse.

Indeed, some at the meeting appeared to hope that the credit crunch would dispose of this scheme and other such programmes that have sprung up in recent years.

These are the kinds of issues that critics are raising.

The government has spattered large amounts of taxpayers’ money on this strategy. But would it ever have decided to target Jewish leaders, or Catholics, or Pentecostalists, with this stuff?

And why is a secular state spending money like this? In America it would be banned under the constitution. And almost certainly in France, too.

Finally: who can possibly have thought that setting up something called Prevent (a negative enough connotation, even in its title) would in some way encourage peace and harmony rather than patronise and alienate its targets still further?

I’m sure there others of you out there who have more positive views of this particular scheme – which is aimed after all at preventing more acts of terror killing people in our towns and cities.

Maybe if you have been the lucky recipient of Prevent monies and have benefited thereby, you can have your say? The space below is yours.



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