Between Security and Liberty: The Effect of Preventive Counter-Terrorism Policies and Practices on Young British Muslims.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:50
Oral Presentation
Necla ACIK, Manchester University, UK, United Kingdom
The threat of ‘home-grown terrorism’ since the 2005 July bombing in London and the wider ‘war on terror’ has led to counter-terrorism strategies being expanded in the UK with a focus on prevention. The most controversial counter-terrorism measure has been the Prevent strategy, which has been criticized widely for disproportionately subjecting Muslim communities to surveillance and invoking narratives of ‘suspect communities’.

Failing to get the voluntary support of the Muslim communities, a subsequent revision to the Prevent strategy in July 2015 made it a statutory duty for schools, universities, health, and social services bodies to implement the Prevent programme. Under this duty, public sector frontline practitioners including teachers are required to identify and refer people at risk of radicalisation and extremism to the government’s Channel programme, which delivers early intervention and support to vulnerable individuals.

This paper draws on two empirical studies carried out from 2016 to 2017 in the North-West of England. It examines the effect of Prevent on students and teachers as well as on young Muslim activists’ sense of social and political engagement. This research will address the potentially stigmatising and isolating effects of the current counter-terrorism policy and practice in schools and the effect it has on young Muslims in the UK.