On Wednesday, the government published its long-anticipated “independent review” into the failed counterterrorism scheme known as Prevent. Led by the open Islamophobe, William Shawcross, the 192-page report is mostly a hodgepodge of a misuse of terms such as “radicalisation”, “safeguarding”, and “vulnerability”. Incredibly, the entire report is based on a grand total of six case studies. 
For the British Muslim community and anyone else who believes in the prevention of tyrannical government, this report, formally titled the Independent Review of Prevent, is anything but independent. It is not even worthy of being viewed as a review.
In a press release, the rights group Amnesty International warned that the report is,
“…riddled with biased thinking, errors, and plain anti-Muslim prejudice – frankly, the review has no legitimacy.” 
A dangerous waste of time and taxpayer funds
One of the key issues with the report as a whole is that Shawcross makes an incredibly concerted effort to redirect government and state-aligned organs in the direction of tackling “Islamist ideology”. 
This comes at a time when figures show that extreme right-wing terrorism or ERWT is the fastest rising form of terrorism in the UK.  
In so doing, many critics have suggested that Shawcross is making Britain a far less safe place, as the real terror threats are now going to be ignored. 
“Wholeheartedly” accepting every recommendation?
The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, has already jumped to the conclusion that every single recommendation made by Shawcross will be implemented.
If only the government were as willing to accept recommendations on issues of race, health care, education, and other sectors – think Race Review or Islamophobia Review.  
Following the report’s publication on 8 February, Braverman stated,
“I am grateful to William Shawcross and welcome his independent review. Prevent will now ensure it focuses on the key threat of Islamist terrorism. As part of this more proportionate approach, we will also remain vigilant on emerging threats, including on the extreme right.
“This independent review has identified areas where real reform is required. This includes a need for Prevent to better understand Islamist ideology, which underpins the predominant terrorist threat facing the UK.
“I wholeheartedly accept all 34 recommendations and am committed to quickly delivering wholesale change to ensure we are taking every possible step to protect our country from the threat posed by terrorism.” 
People’s Review of Prevent: the only credible review
It has been four years and four Prime Ministers since the government’s announcement of the so-called independent review into Prevent in January 2019.
In the meantime, not only has there been a credible response from British civil society, it has also made a mockery of the Shawcross attempt.
While the People’s Review of Prevent (PROP) – a project spearheaded by Prevent Watch – was announced in June 2021, it delivered on its objectives in breakneck speed. 
By February of 2022, just eight months in the making, 600 cases had been analysed. And devastating findings confirmed that Prevent:
- Undermines free expression;
- Is discriminatory towards Muslims;
- Is reliant on unfair profiling of Muslim communities;
- Is overwhelmingly fixated on children and young people;
- Is an abuse of individual privacy rights and data protection;
- Is an abuse of basic human rights and protected characteristics;
- Targets behaviours and actions that are in and of themselves not illegal;
- Is being shared with despotic regimes to aid in the oppression of Muslims;
- Undermines appropriate safeguarding work carried out by social workers, school staff, and other professionals. 
Shawcross report a “D minus”
The co-chair of the People’s Review of Prevent, John Holmwood – emeritus Professor of Sociology in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham – was brutal in his remarks following the Shawcross report’s release.
Professor Holmwood stated,
“The Shawcross Review is ideologically-driven, factually erroneous, and methodologically poor. It is based on hearsay evidence and doesn’t even evaluate internal reports produced by government departments.
“It’s difficult to understand what William Shawcross has been up to in the two years he has been working on this review. All it does is recalibrate Prevent without addressing any legitimate concerns.” 
He added further,
“His effort to smear the lawful opinions of British Muslims and silence Prevent critics is disgraceful; it shows Shawcross’ interest in free speech is partial and partisan. If he were my student, he’d get a D minus for the report.
“Bizarrely, despite stressing the importance of Prevent to Britain’s security, Shawcross refrains from recommending putting it on a statutory footing with an annual independent review, which suggests he has little confidence in Prevent surviving such a process.” 
I see your 6 cases and raise 600
Likewise, Dr. Layla Aitlhadj, Director of Prevent Watch and fellow co-chair of PROP, painted a damning picture of the Shawcross report.
Dr. Aitlhadj stated,
“Light on research, poor on analysis, and heavy on anti-Muslim bias, the Shawcross Review fails in every regard. For the People’s Review of Prevent, we analysed 600 cases of people referred to the programme. Shawcross based his entire report on just 6 Channel cases!
“The simple fact is Prevent does not stop terrorism and this review has, unsurprisingly, not provided any evidence to suggest otherwise.
“Meanwhile, our report provided ample evidence of the harms that Prevent has caused: from innocent children who now need counselling after their traumatic interrogations by counter-terrorism officers, to further education opportunities being withdrawn from students due to the information-sharing that occurs in Prevent cases.” 
Dr. Aitlhadj further added,
“The UK already has robust laws to deal with terrorism and would-be terrorists. The Government needs to stop wasting resources on the failed Prevent policy and instead invest it back into services that are vital for a healthy society: in social care, mental health care, and education.” 
What happens now?
We must continue to support Muslim and non-Muslim organisations that continue to oppose and call for the scrapping of Prevent.
It is a clear Islamophobic tool in the government’s arsenal of discriminatory policies and British Muslims must remain united in applying pressure on the government to ditch this toxic and failed scheme.
The People’s Review of Prevent is currently being updated, following the release of the Shawcross report. Let’s stay on the lookout for a revised copy that is set to land in Spring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR_ZHRmVa70
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