Thomas, Paul (2014) Prevent and Community Cohesion in Britain – The Worst of All Possible Worlds? In: Counter Radicalisation - Critical Perspectives. Routledge Critical Terrorism Studies . Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 978-1-13-877663-0

This chapter offers a critical analysis of the UK’s Prevent programme to date, and argues that it has been ineffective, or even counter-productive because of a number of conceptual flaws and contradictions. In particular, the monocultural focus on entire, ‘suspect’ British Muslim communities has arguably hardened feelings of antagonism towards the British state and wider society amongst sections of those communities, damaging precisely the flows of human intelligence needed to combat the Islamist terror threat, whilst failing to actually engage educationally with the various drivers of radicalisation. This Prevent approach has created envy amongst other communities at the significant resources directed at Muslim communities, whilst ignoring the growing right-wing/racist terror threat symbolised by the British connections to Anders Brevik. All this has shown Prevent to be in fundamental contradiction to the analysis and concerns of the parallel policy agenda of community cohesion/ integration. The Chapter argues that the Prevent Review of 2011, which was designed to differentiate the two policy programmes, has actually down-played but exacerbated their tensions. Instead, the Chapter argues, Prevent needs to develop a synergy with cohesion work, basing approaches to preventing terrorism or attraction towards it on educational programmes of cross-community contact and meaningful democratic participation and engagement of young people.

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