Since the launch of the initial ‘pathfinder’ fund in 2006, Prevent – the policy mechanism designed to deter people from being involved in violent extremism – has been a source of fierce controversy, especially among Muslims. Prevent under Labour was criticised by those on the left for transforming British Muslims into a ‘suspect community’, while many of those on the right saw it as a waste of public money. In 2010 Prevent was re-launched by the coalition government with a new focus and less emphasis on community-led grass roots activism. But can this new version be defended, and what has the change meant for Muslims groups?
In December Public Spirit will debate these questions, looking at Prevent’s impact on Muslim civil society organisations, as well as race and inter-faith relations more generally. The series will feature a range of experts on Prevent, including Paul Thomas (University of Huddersfield), Imran Awan (Birmingham City University), Arshad Isakjee (University of Birmingham) and Katherine Browne (King’s College London), as well as Muslim activists and community workers, such as Jahan Mahmood, who have experience of delivering preventing extremism work.