The appointment of William Shawcross to lead the independent review of the Prevent policy is deeply disturbing. Shawcross is a man whose troubling legacy has demonstrated that he would be more likely to amplify the targeting of British Muslims rather than address the issue of extremism in a constructive and positive manner.
As director of the right-wing think tank The Henry Jackson Society, Shawcross said: “Europe and Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future. I think all European countries have vastly, very quickly growing Islamic populations.” During his tenure at the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Shawcross was accused of institutional bias against Muslims due to an unjustified assumption of extremism. It is simply highly ironic and a direct insult to British Muslims that someone with his track record would then be assumed to be an impartial and fair assessor of the very same policy that disproportionately targets Muslims.
The government has once again made clear its attitude of the normalisation of Islamophobia. It can only be left to say that the Muslim Association of Britain will not only be boycotting this sham of a review, but any future reviews. Partaking in any review of the Prevent policy would indicate a belief that the policy can be reformed. Consequently, we reiterate our position of calling for the scrapping of a deeply, and fundamentally flawed policy.
Muslim Association of Britain
28th January 2021
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