How to build an effective Prevent strategy – stop spying on Muslims and ditch the Quilliam Foundation

In the latest piece in his regular column for Islam Online, Inayat Bunglawala assesses the recent exposure of how the government’s Prevent programme is being used as an instrument for state surveillance of Muslim communities. His conclusion:

“In view of the deeply troubling revelations in The Guardian, it would appear natural for British Muslims to want to shun those involved in the Prevent agenda. That would be a tragic mistake. It should be self-evident to all that Britain needs to have an effective and successful Prevent strategy in place to safeguard all our communities. 7/7 showed that the terror threat is not an illusion. British Muslims who have made the UK their home and are bringing up their children there have an obvious stake in ensuring that the country is protected against the evil scourge of terrorism.

“However, the trust lost by misguided and ill-motivated past actions by the government may well prove difficult to regain. Many British Muslims have understandably come to view the Quilliam Foundation as constituting a government-backed attempt to destabilize leading Islamic organizations in the UK. An essential and necessary first step to help rebuild relations with British Muslims and increase trust must be for the Home Office to publicly make crystal clear that the government does not in any way condone spying on individuals who are not suspected of involvement in unlawful activities. A second essential step must be to loudly distance itself from the actions and views of the Quilliam Foundation and to immediately cease funding its mischief-making against Islamic institutions.”